Great effort falls short
The Unity Rockets have put another great football season in the books.
There's no doubt that losing the Class 3A title game hurt the players, coaches and fans of the Unity Rockets.
But Unity head coach Scott Hamilton told the truth when he said "this (loss) beats not being here." Just as one team ended the season as the Illinois high school state champion in Class 3A, only two teams had the opportunity to play for the title.
If the destination did not end where Unity fans wanted — with the elusive state title — they can console themselves with the journey and all that went along with it to the championship game. The memory of what the team and its coaches achieved together in their season and tourney run to the championship game against Aurora Christian will endure.
The final score — 42-12 — was not indicative of the fierceness of the contest, played on a chilly, windy day at Memorial Stadium. Unity trailed 14-12 in the fourth quarter, just missing a chance to take the lead when a field goal hit the upright and bounced away.
From that point, the game got out of hand after Aurora Christian scored and kept scoring.
Unity's final record was 12-2. If you're a competitor, that number is important. But it's still just a number.
Team play — at its best — emphasizes cooperation, camaraderie, trust, friendship, common goals, shared sacrifice and winning and losing as a team. This year's edition of the Rockets epitomized those virtues all the way to Memorial Stadium. What a season.