When I was just starting out as a Rule 10 football coach at Clay Center Community High School back in the year 2000, I was a mild mannered, timid, and completely clueless football coa…SCREEECHHH.
Sorry boys for the stretch of the truth, please let me start again.
Okay, when I was just starting out as a Rule 10 football coach back in the year 2000, I was an excitable, raving lunatic, who was completely clueless as a football coach. There, I said it. Then something happened. I read the Blackie Book and I read Coach Otto Unruh’s book, HOW TO COACH WINNING FOOTBALL.
The Blackie Book is a compilation put together (and updated each year) by Coach Blackie Lane. It contains virtually the entire historic record of high school football in Clay Center. It is an incredible piece of history and if you haven’t seen it, you should make the effort.
HOW TO COACH WINNING FOOTBALL by the long time Clay Center and Bethel College head coach is a valuable slice of wisdom, both in the schematic football knowledge of the day and in the timeless methodology of coaching young boys into young men.
I read these two documents and became transformed by the tradition of football in our town. I realized what a heavy responsibility fell on one who coaches in this program and I vowed not to be a disappointment. I worked and read, and read and worked. I research and studied football coaching, football theory, especially offensive and defensive line play. But most of all, I studied strength and conditioning.
We aren’t big in CC, we aren’t exceedingly fast, and never really have been. But tradition holds these truths; we play hard, we hit hard, and we come after you every play of every game.
Another thing we started doing back around 2002 (or one of those years) was having each player touch the Otto Unruh Stadium sign at the south end of the stadium prior to pregame introductions. Fans may or may not have ever noticed this, but they still do it.
I don’t coach anymore, mostly because of the excitable, raving lunatic descriptors I used earlier in this post. Out of curiosity, though, I asked a couple current players if they knew why they “Touch the Sign” before home games. They did not know, but they were eager to find out. So, here is the reason you touch that sign, boys.
We “Touch The Sign” before we take the field for home games at Otto Unruh Stadium as a tribute to all those who played Clay Center Football before us.
We pledge with that one touch we will play with honor, courage, intensity, and sportsmanship on our home field and in front of our community.
We promise we will leave the Clay Center mark on our opponent in defeat and in victory. They will know by their battered and tired bodies they played the Clay Center Tigers.
We play for 100+ years of Clay Center football:
- 836 games, 453-337-46 record, a .542 winning %
- 63% of all teams had a winning record
- 10 undefeated seasons
We play for the early Clay Center Dynasties:
1. V.R. Vegades Era 1920-1926; 42-10-2, a .778 winning %
- 1920 – 7-1 record
- 1921 – 8-1 undefeated regular season. Lost to Topeka in playoffs.
- 1922 – 7-1 Did not get scored on all season until last game, a 7-6 loss to Manhattan. Beat Concordia 101-0.
- 1923 – 6-1, No TD’s given up the entire season. Lost final game to Manhattan 6-3 but only gave up 2 FG’s.
- 1924 – 6-1, only gave up 3 TD’s all season.
2. C.A. Nelson Era 1930-1941; 69-27-13, a .670 winning % and 3 undefeated seasons.
We play for the Otto Unruh Era:
- 1945-1966; 126-65-8, a .633 winning %
- Won 3 Class A State Championships
- 3 undefeated 9-0 seasons.
- 1956 and 1957 teams went 18-0 and won 2 state titles.
- 1963 team went 8-1 and won state championship. Only loss of year was to Manhattan, 7-6, on a missed PAT.
We play for the Larry Wiemers Era:
- 1977-1994; 114-71, a .616 winning%
- 1978, 1979, 1980 teams went 26-5, 2 District championships and 3 NCKL titles
- 1980 team went 10-1, losing only to Andover in the regional final.
- 1983, 1984, 1985 teams went 25-8, Substate, district and bi-district titles.
- 1993 team went 10-1, NCKL champs, district, bi-district, regional runner-up
So, gentlemen, there’s the story behind why you Touch the Sign. Good luck and NEVER forget,
There is no #TigerFamily without #TigerTradition.