ALBIA — The Albia football team had an incredible run this season, and the Blue Demons were lavishly rewarded for their feats on the gridiron with an assortment of honors this offseason.
This past season the Blue Demons embarked on a historic run that brought a whole community together, as Albia’s citizens coalesced around its football team. For anyone who harbors any doubts about the affect the football team’s success had on instilling a strong sense of pride in the community would only of had to gaze at the sea of blue shirts that filled the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls when the second-ranked Blue Demons played Waukon in the Class 2A semifinals this past Saturday.
“For our community, if you saw, our stands were packed today,” Blake Bayer said after Albia fell to the Indians 27-21. “The first day the tickets were sold there were a thousand sold an hour. It was crazy, so our community is a big part of it, we really wanted to make sure we looked good for our community.”
“It’s about the pride that was developed in the community,” Albia football coach Jerry Staton added, “and the spirit that Albia showed during this terrific run that we had. I’m just so proud of our community and our kids.”
Indeed, it was a magical run for the Blue Demons — a run where the entire community hitched a ride. After it finished the regular seasons with 9 wins and zero losses, Albia made school history by winning its first-ever playoff game and then some. And, even though the Blue Demons’ season didn’t culminate with the state championship the team desired, that doesn’t erase all Albia accomplished on the gridiron.
“There are a lot of tears being shed in our locker room and I tell them there should be tears of joy that that they made the journey, not tears that they lost the game,” Staton said. “The trophy is a nice thing to put in a trophy case, but the trophy is not what the season is about; it’s about the journey.”