BROWN DEER (WITI) -- The Brown Deer High School football team is enjoying another fine season -- with five wins and just one loss -- but their biggest victories have come off the field.
"We were 0-25 across the three levels and I think 20 of the 25 games we were mercy ruled. It was tough!" Head Coach Rob Green said.
Coach Green wondered what he'd gotten into 14 years ago when he took over a downtrodden Brown Deer High School football program, but in the past 10 seasons, the Falcons have risen to heights not seen for decades -- winning five conference championships. It's impressive, especially when you consider that Green's young men sometimes go up against players from schools with enrollments that are over twice Brown Deer's size!
"Going up against bigger schools is huge for us. We love doing it and by the time we get to the playoffs and play some smaller schools, we're just so much up there," Brown Deer senior QB Zack Baun said.
The Falcons are up there with dual threat QB Baun. The senior may be the best athlete in the state. You might even see him playing for the Wisconsin Badgers someday!
"The characteristic that makes him so strong is number one, he's a great people person. He's probably a better person than he is a football player, and I know that it's said a lot," Coach Green said.
That in a nutshell is what it's all about for the Falcons.
Like many teenagers, these young men face temptations that can lead them down the wrong path, so Coach Green and his staff immerse themselves in their players' lives.
"Football's the tool that we use, because it's a game that a lot of kids love to play and they like to emulate what they see on Saturdays and Sundays on TV -- so you can capture them in that way. But until they truly buy into your complete system and buy into our relationship building and our character education with our kids is when we really grab them," Coach Green said.
"Honestly, before football I was that kid who got suspended every year at least two or three times. When I started playing football my freshman year, everybody started to make me feel like I was at home. I didn't have anymore anger in me. It really helped me out. I can tell that I'm not the same person I was four years ago," senior defensive lineman Jamar Manning said.
"From football, school -- anything that I've seen so far gets me use to it for the real world after high school. I can learn how to come back from a tough loss, from a failed test. It just teaches me to persevere, and that's a good trait for me to have," senior running back Nick Coleman said.
"We're honest people that will stand up for them and go to bat for them and advocate for them. As that progresses, we also teach them how to advocate for themselves. It's a mutual relationship that really builds upon itself week after week, day after day -- ultimately for three to four years," Coach Green said.
Coach Green's brother Andy says he feels the same way. He has been by his side from day one.
"We've always been a close family -- between my father who helps us out coaching and my middle brother and my sister. My mom comes to every game, so it's a pretty tight-knit family," Andy Green said.
Brown Deer's extended family includes former standout player Nick Becker, who went on to play left tackle at UW-LaCrosse. He's the Falcons' offensive line coach.
"It gives them a place to come every day -- have a family outside of whatever they have at home. A family that will support them, will work with them, will be there when they need it," Becker said.
Becker's father Kevin was always at his son's games. Now, he's part of a crew that paints the field for the current team.
"It's been great to always have him around. You don't really realize it until you are away at college. He's not always there, but just having that support and always being there, it's definitely something that you can't take for granted," Becker said.
Becker's father Kevin is Chief Engineer at WITI, FOX6 News!