The 2018 season was a season of change and growth for Southmoreland football, and on March 2, the first year coaching staff and outgoing seniors, along with their families, were gathered together for another major step in the changing athletic culture behind building not just a successful team, but a successful football program.
“Tonight we recognize the seniors,” said Ron Smith, the founder of the Red and Black Booster Club, “and their contribution to changing the culture of the program.”
This night was the first of a proposed annual dinner giving back to the student athletes without whom Southmoreland would not have a football program. It is sponsored by the new Red and Black Booster Club, a committee in its first year dedicated to the betterment of the program and its athletes.
“We are here to do whatever we can from top to bottom to make the program successful,” said Smith. “We are an organization of the community committed to our athletes excelling on and off of the field while building a winning culture and bringing the community together.”
The 53 members of the club, led by Smith, have contributed in this first year and have goals to expand throughout Southmoreland athletics.
“To raise funds we’ve had a gun bash with Everson Fire Department, a golf outing with the midget program, as well as a cash bash,” said Smith. “With the amount of money we were able to raise, we did things like buying 40 sets of Under Armour 7 on 7 gear for the varsity squad, assisting financially with middle school coaches due to budget cuts, and getting a coach bus for the varsity softball team to take to states.”
At the senior dinner, the club showed their appreciation by gifting each of the athletes a sterling silver necklace chain with their football number on it, as well as a small stipend to aid in their future endeavors. A total of about $5,000 was spent. Members say what the club has accomplished this past year is only the beginning of what they plan to do for Southmoreland athletics in the future.
“Southmoreland is finally displaying the changing attitude and culture necessary to win,” said Smith. “We have a bright future ahead and the right coaching staff to lead us. The club is here because we believe in coach (Dave) Keefer and want to give him the help necessary for what he is doing for the community.”
The coaching staff showed obvious pride and gratitude for their seniors as they each received their gift and scholarship award.
“This was a pivotal year,” said head football coach Dave Keefer. “The booster club generated a lot of excitement within the community and backed up the coaches a lot. In the coming years, we will have success beyond the four games we won this season, and the club is going to help us get there.”
It is no secret that in a community as small as Southmoreland School District, football is a major part of the culture, and if there is any sure way to build pride in a hometown, it is by winning football games.
“All members of our community are invited to get involved with the Red and Black booster program,” said Smith. “We are giving the athletes everything we can from a young age so they have a lot to build on. Those opportunities, along with community involvement, is going to be the key to our success.”
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