PUEBLO — Tony Lindsay Sr. can't help but smile when he talks about community and family. To him, those make up the foundation of a solid football program. And he wanted to display that in his first championship game as the coach at Far Northeast.
His family was there. His sons followed from Denver South, wanting to partake in the task of rebuilding the school formerly known as Montbello.
"I told my sons that they could stay there," Lindsay said. "One of them could get the head coaching job there."
But they wanted to follow dad and do something special.
On May 15, 2021 they got to do just that. The Far Northeast Warriors claimed their program's first football title with a 34-0 win over Boulder to claim the Season C Class 5A title. What was more special was how Lindsay got to watch more family contribute to that special moment.
Emmit Anderson got himself a rushing touchdown in the first half, but Gregory did it all. He ran for a touchdown, caught one, threw for one and even had an interception on defense.
A jack of all trades and the game's Most Outstanding Player as a result.
"It's a team sport, it's not just me," Gregory said. "The linemen block, the quarterback makes the passes, the running backs make great runs. It's not just me, I was just contributing."
He as just contributing at a high level that will go down in legend when people recount how the Warriors earned the trophy that will sit in a display case for all to see.
Gregory got the Warriors (5-2 overall) on the board with a 24-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Emmit made it a 13-0 game with a touchdown run in the second and then Gregory created his own opportunity. He picked off a Tristan Langenegger pass and was rewarded when Andy Martinez found him on a deep route to make it a 20-0 game.
"To end off my senior year like this, not a lot of people get that opportunity," Gregory said. "I'm blessed to do it with these guys, my brothers. I love them."
The Warriors' first touchdown of the second half came on an Anderson throw as he took the handoff and found Jaylen Byrd streaking down the sideline. The throw was perfect and the lead increased to 27-0, giving the Warriors a feeling that a championship was well within their grasp.
All that was needed was one last defensive stand, which the Warriors got by applying consistent pressure to Langenegger. With the ball back in their hands, Martinez went to the air one more time, finding Leonardo Ramos-Valles for a touchdown.
The offense played well, Gregory Anderson was spectacular and the defense as a whole was stellar.
"That's the heart; that is our heartbeat," Lindsay said. "Those five guys down there (on the defensive line), you watch any game it's all them. Defense wins championships."
Perhaps the biggest source of pride for Lindsay through it all was that he felt the joy coming from the kids that reside in the community. These were Far Northeast kids doing something special at Far Northeast.
He was aware of the challenge that he was facing when he took the job. But it was a challenge he was excited to face.
"That's why I went there," he said.
The first step to building a program back is easy in his mind. A team has to start winning. He stood on the field of the Neta and Eddie DeRose Thunderbowl in Pueblo and soaked in what his guys accomplished. They won.
Now the real work begins.