More than just a game

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From left: Westfield High School team captains Zane Burtron, Jacob Robinson, Nick Ferrer, Devin Reece and Turner Edwards and football coach Jake Gilbert. (Photo by Lauren Olsen)

From left: Westfield High School team captains Zane Burtron, Jacob Robinson, Nick Ferrer, Devin Reece and Turner Edwards and football coach Jake Gilbert. (Photo by Lauren Olsen)

By Lauren Olsen

“The football program is not just about football,” Westfield High School Football Coach Jake Gilbert told the Westfield Chamber of Commerce crowd at its monthly luncheon on Jan. 16 at The Bridgewater Club.

During his speech, Gilbert spoke about the hard work that went into making 2013 a great season for Westfield’s top-ranked Class 5A state championship runner-up team. His inspirational speech was about his goals for the team: having fun, becoming a family and brotherhood, making a difference, committing to excellence and winning with honor.

“We’re making boys into men, and men into leaders, reaching their potential in all ways using football as a means to that end,” Gilbert said.

In attendance with Gilbert were team captains Zane Burtron, Jacob Robinson, Turner Edwards, Nick Ferrer and Devin Reece. Each high school senior talked about one of the team goals.

“Ever since Coach Gilbert came, the focus on making a difference in the community has grown extensively. I think this goal ranks above all goals that we have in our program,” Edwards said.

The team has hosted football camps with kids, participated in cancer fundraising events, donated more blood than any other team across Indiana for two consecutive years and helped with tornado cleanup efforts in Kokomo.

The team has come a long way since Gilbert came on board two-and-a-half years ago. His goal then was – and remains – to build something that is “more than a football team.”

“We want this program to be a gem in this community,” he said. “We want to make Westfield proud.”

Holding 360 workouts in 380 days and working to achieve the team goals Gilbert set for it, the team is living proof of what can be accomplished with resolve and the determination to win.

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