All good things must come to an end. Unfortunately for the SDSU football team, that end came too soon. The Jacks historic season came to a close in round two of the playoffs with an emotional loss to NDSU.
"It was one of silence, tears, and hurt. Again it was two fold. A loss is a loss, but a loss that says we're done, is infinitely tougher," head coach John Stiegelmeier said.
The loss marks the end of a special senior class. One that as freshman were part of the Rabbits first ever division one playoff team, it's only fitting as seniors they led their school to it's first division one playoff victory.
"We came in together and obviously that's been one of our goals. This program is built on hard work and just keep on grinding away through winter conditioning, spring ball, and into the season. I think that's something the senior class has lead the underclassmen to do and it's a tradition I'm sure they'll continue," senior Ross Shafrath said.
For the boys in blue from Brookings the future looks very bright.
"Football is hard work and we've got good players, we've got good student athletes. But the commitment to work hard and do what your suppose to do is always the key ingredient," Stiegelmeier said.
"They've got a lot of young guys, a lot of young guys played this year. Losing our senior class is going to hurt a little bit, but they've got great leaders that will step up. I think the futures very bright," senior Will Castle said.
Their leadership next year will feature plenty of upperclassmen. On defense they will look to Winston Wright and breakout freshman T.J. Lally. As for the offense, they will be led by the nations leading rusher, Zach Zenner, and quarterback Austin Sumner.
"The next class has to step up and take that roll too. This gave some guys a taste of what it's like and we realize what it takes. It's hard work to win a national championship, or to even be in the quarterfinals." quarterback Austin Sumner said," We've got some work to do, but we'll be back."
For head coach John Steigelmeier this was a historic season, but the team isn't done yet.
"I think we did some things historically, bottom line is the only history we really want to record is for a finish in Texas with a victory. We will someday, I promise you that, we have that kind of work ethic and that kind of mentality," Stiegelmeier said.