First on-field win since 2008 emotional, historic for Adams City football

Adams City football

Adams City High School head coach Dan Jajczyk, center, led Adams City to its first win on the field in five seasons on Friday. (Kai Casey/CHSAANow.com)

Sports are all about historic moments.

The moments that are remembered the most are historic championships, winning streaks or individual feats. But those aren't the ones that count the most. If a team were to collect state championships for multiple years in a row, it may a historic run, but the feeling of victory is simply repeated again and again.

For a group of football players at Adams City High School, they were able to experience a historic moment that they will never forget.

You'd have to go back — way back — to 2008 to find the last time that the Eagles took the field and walked away with a victory. A quick glance at the record books would show Adams City finishing the year with a win in 2011, but in reality it was a 34-14 loss at the hands of Niwot that was later ruled a forfeit.

No, it was Friday, Aug. 29, 2014 that the Eagles got their first on-field win in nearly six years as they topped Thornton 21-8.

It came with an extra sense of familiarity: The most recent win also came over Thornton, 32-14 on Sept. 5, 2008. That's 2,185 days between on-field wins.

But like most cliched sports movies, the win just didn't happen. There was a story, a process, that played out to allow such a storybook moment to take place.

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Adams City football

The Adams City High School football team huddles after practice on Tuesday. (Kai Casey/CHSAANow.com)

It actually began after last season. Athletic director Damian Brown met with the team and expressed his commitment to make improvements to the program and get it on the winning track.

"First off, I apologized to them," Brown said. "I apologized to our seniors last year and told them that I wished I had been their AD years before because I know what it takes to develop a good football team and I knew what they needed."

He cited the need for a passionate coach who cared for the kids, not as football players, but as human beings. His search took him to Chaparral High School and Dan Jajczyk. It wasn't until March, but Brown hired Jajczyk to spearhead what he hoped would be a re-energized football program.

"I knew the history of this program because I had coached at other schools," Jajczyk said. "The realization of how far we've come since (I was hired) is really gratifying for these kids. They had never had a taste of the payoff of hard work and sacrifice."

But under the new leadership, those kids didn't have to wait long. It took all of the first game of the season for them to feel the payoff of the work that Jajczyk and his coaching staff had demanded they put into the season.

And it wasn't just the players that got to feel the elation over a moment that they've been waiting for their entire football careers at Adams City. Within minutes after the final gun, Jajczyk's cell phone (which he didn't have on him at the time) instantly lit up with calls and text messages filled with thanks and congratulations.

"It was unbelievable," he said. "I can't tell you how many phone calls and text messages I've gotten since then but that was the kind of feeling — at the very end — that was ... it was surreal. They had been wanting that for so long"

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Adams City football

Adams City High School head coach Dan Jajczyk speaks to his team after practice. (Kai Casey/CHSAANow.com)

Above all else, Jajczyk knows that football is about more than just a single win. Brown didn't hire him just to put the Eagles in the column once; he wants the program to thrive.

Jajczyk has been around long enough to know that he doesn't want the team to stand on this single win alone, but admitted that it was hard to quell the excitement generate by Friday's outcome.

"I had told the boys before the game that no matter what, we were going to be successful regardless of the score," he said. "If by chance we were on top on the scoreboard we weren't going to act like we won the Super Bowl. We were prepping them to not act too crazy.

"But when I was taking the headset off and listening to the countdown starting at 10, it hit me how really important this was."

The Eagles now face another situation they aren't familiar with: carrying momentum on to the game. The Eagles take the field again Friday night as they face Mountain View.

The one certainty heading into the matchup is that more eyeballs will be keeping an eye on the first Cinderella story of 2014.

Adams City football