Olathe — Yes, the follies that befell Seabury Academy's football team Thursday night outnumbered the highlights. And no, the Seahawks didn't win. They never were even close, receiving a 66-14 thumping from Kansas School for the Deaf. But those facts couldn't detract from this moment, as running back Gus Wigen-Toccalino picked himself up off the grass with two minutes left in the first half.
Wigen-Toccalino had just dived for the front right pylon, grinding with every last ounce of leg strength he had in his body. When the play ended, he was all alone, standing in the endzone. He had scored a touchdown. This wasn't just any TD, though. It was the first one - in the first game - in school history. So who cares if the Seahawks already were trailing by 36 points? They finally had a reason to celebrate.
"It was definitely nice," said Wigen-Toccalino, who took the pitch from quarterback Reed Grabill seven yards for the score. "I've got to thank Reed for giving me that good toss, but it was definitely a good feeling."
A small moment in a season sure to have its share of tumult. One that coach Scott Peavey won't soon forget, however.
"I was happy for Gus," Peavey said. "I was happy for our whole team in general. The parents, the community, a lot of them have worked hard to get this football program going. Hopefully it's the first of many to follow this season."
The Seahawks' debut in 8-man football certainly came with some kinks that still need ironing out.
Take Seabury's first offensive play, when the team's center was penalized for illegally picking the ball up before snapping near midfield. Or the constant reminders from referees to wear a mouthpiece and keep chinstraps around the neck. Or even the blue rubber bin carrying Seabury's game supplies labeled "bball practice" next to the bench.
Still, players couldn't have been happier to be out there. Last year, all the team had were scrimmage games and practices.
Following a jittery first quarter in which they trailed 30-0, the Seahawks actually played KSD pretty evenly.
"I thought coming out the second half, we played a lot better ball," said Grabill, who found receiver Bill Gibbs for a 24-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. "I think we need to take that and improve on it."
Seabury will meet KSD once more in five weeks. Then, the Seahawks should have a nice gauge on just how far they've come. Peavey is optimistic.
"I already told them in our postgame meeting to have that game marked on our calendar," Peavey said, "because I plan on hopefully making a little bit better showing."