Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014 | 1:44 p.m.
What a difference a year makes.
Last February, Vernon Fox took the stage in the Faith Lutheran auditorium and spoke to players for the first time as their football coach. He told them they would win — immediately.
One year later, they returned to the same auditorium for another meeting with their coach. Like he predicted, they were winners.
Faith Lutheran passed out state championship rings today, celebrating its breakthrough season with the ultimate prize in sports.
Faith Lutheran has fielded a team for more than 25 years. This was the Crusaders’ first state championship, going from one of Southern Nevada’s worst teams to one of its best. Two years prior, they won just two games and were outscored 402-116.
But Fox constantly told players they would be successful — even when they opened the season with two defeats. They played their best football at the end of the season and closed on a 12-game winning streak.
“A bar has been set. A foundation has been put in place,” Fox told the players today. “This is what Faith Lutheran football is all about.”
Fox distributed rings to coaches, staff and players, instructing them not to open their boxes. He decided to have the ring ceremony because it seemed informal having players stop by his office to receive such an important award. Once everyone received their ring box, they opened them together.
“Hold up your rings,” he told the group. “(Repeat) I’m a Crusader. I’m a Crusader.”