MONETA, Va. – Staunton River is not one of the usual suspects in a football playoff conversation, at least it wasn't in years past, but times have changed in Moneta.
It was the kind of season that people will talk about in diners 30 years from now.
The Golden Eagles reached the program's first state championship football game in 2016.
They treated scoreboards like pinball machines along the way, behind a single-wing rushing attack. That attack racked up 465 yards and 62 points in a state semifinal game.
The eight-point state final loss to Blacksburg, while disappointing, did not dampen the accomplishments of a program that has had only four winning seasons since 1999.
"When you have a run like that obviously it's great momentum. It definitely feeds your offseason program, but one thing I've tried to emphasize to the kids is not one single point from last year counts this year. Not one. Not one win from last year counts this year " head coach Chuck Poston said.
Top back Grayson Overstreet garnered 1st and 10 WSLS Player of the Year honors for rolling up nearly 3,000 yards and 46 scores on the season.
"That trophy goes as much to me as to my coaches and my teammates," Overstreet said. "They help me do everything that I accomplished especially with this year, we had a great year. I just thank them. I hope to see us just keep being 1-0 at the end of the week. Like we always say, you know, there is always something to do. There's hard work. We work hard and we try to get there and I hope to see this program continue to build," Overstreet said.
"Fear the Wing" has given the team and the school a battle cry.
It was Poston's decision that started the single wing momentum rolling in the Golden Eagles' favor back in 2013.
"Our football coaches have done a tremendous job selling the single wing and our kids, I mean, they've hung their hat on it. It is a rally cry, I guess you would say, " Athletic Director Adam Sparks said. "I think it does give them a little more motivation. " We're at a point now with the offense that we feel like we've got a good grasp on it. The kids understand the terminology and I think that gives them more confidence going into Friday night."
"I really feel like it fit our personnel because we weren't the biggest guys so we got down on hips and we move people out instead of just passed setting and coming at them with our hands and using our shoulders," senior lineman Joe Haner said. "And we have better running backs than we have receivers."
It's easy to point to the installation of the single-wing offense as the turning point to Stanton River's football fortunes. But the key to sustained success might well be its installation on all levels, including right here at the middle school.
"The moment that we put it in (the single wing) we put in at the middle school. I mean that's where it all starts in here, and in the last two years our rec program has really, really began to take it off," Poston said.
The continuity from rec league to middle school, to the junior varsity and varsity ranks has the Golden Eagles in a reload, not rebuild situation. Staunton River has created a system that will provide sustainable success, and continued winning memories.
The Moneta community will never forget the team's recent success and can't wait for more to remember.