Story by Dan Mohrmann/CHSAANow.com
Photo by Sanford High School
If there is any doubt that Sanford football isn't ready to play each week, a quick glance at the scores of its games will tell the whole story. The Indians are 6-0 on the year and the closest game they've played was their 52-24 win over Mancos last week. That's how good this team has been all year. They've already matched their win total from 2018 and have been nothing short of dominant each week. Coach Joe Cary is quick to point out that the main reason behind the team's success this season isn't because of anything his players are doing physically. It's all mental. They want to practice and they want to get better. Because, ultimately, they want to win. Cary insists that his work is easier because of the drive the team has every day at practice and at games. Even if many hands make light work for the head coach, his work with Sanford this season has been good enough that he has been named this week's Broncos High School Coach of the Week. The Broncos High School Coach of the Week is selected in partnership with the Broncos and CHSCA.
Joe Cary bio
Years as head coach: 2 (12-3)
Years at Sanford: 2 (12-3, 6-0 this season)
Previous stops: Sanford head coach (2018-present).
Dan Mohrmann: Why did you get into coaching?
Joe Cary: It's all for the kids. I love the kids here at Sanford. I love their drive, I love their competitiveness and it's just a whole lot of fun being around these kids all the time.
Mohrmann: From their perspective, what do you think it's like to be coached by you?
Cary: I hope they would think that I push them. I try and get the potential out of them. I can be hard on them at the same time. I think they know that I love them and that I'm just trying to get the very best out of them. That's what I hope they would say.
Mohrmann: In just two years at Sanford, what's been the biggest learning curve for you, and what's something that's really come easily?
Cary: The biggest learning curve is just the mindset that we have to enter every game, every practice, how that affects the game so much. There's not a whole lot of things that have come too easy. Probably the thing that's been the very best for me is my assistant coaches. I was able to really grab some really good assistant coaches, and that makes my life a whole lot easier because they're so good.
Mohrmann: You've had some big wins this year. I don't think there's been anything fewer than three scores. So what is it, whether it's Friday or Saturday, that your boys have been able to come to the field ready to perform at such a high level?
Cary: They just have a lot of pride in themselves and in the community and this team. The brotherhood in this team is exceptional. I think they have a unity that I haven't seen in other teams, and they just come together and they just get the job done. They go out and then they do the very best they can.
Mohrmann: Do you think being from a small town and Sanford being a smaller school really kind of drives that point home?
Cary: Yeah, and it comes from the community, as well. Their parents all teach them these values and stuff, and I feel very blessed to be able to coach here where the kids have been brought up with those values and their parents drive them to reach their potential. It makes coaching a lot more enjoyable.
Mohrmann: Do you think that's maybe another reason that they come to play every week is they're not taking anything for granted, that they've just had that hard-work mentality instilled in them?
Cary: I definitely think that's a part of it. They have a sense of pride and they want to go out and put on a show every night for our fans as well. They know that's a big part of the fan's lives is to come out and watch the show and so they try their very best to do that; put on a show.
Mohrmann: What's been the most enjoyable part of this season for you?
Cary: We had some adversity to start the season. They just came together even stronger and went forward. I really enjoyed seeing the commitment that they have when they're at practice and they want to work hard. It makes my job a whole lot more enjoyable when it's like that.
Mohrmann: Coming in with no real previous coaching experience, did you think you would enjoy it as much as you have so far?
Cary: I didn't have a whole lot of experience with the high school level, but I thoroughly enjoyed junior high. I was scared beyond belief going into high school because it's a completely different level. I came up with these boys and they kind of knew my program and kind of knew what our expectations were. I knew I would have fun with them 'cause I knew they would respond and do what they needed to do.
Mohrmann: Six wins already under your belt and playoffs aren't too far down the road. How tough is it going to be to get their gears kicked in from regular season to a playoff mode where it's win or go home?
Cary: I don't think it's going to be too hard with this set of boys. They have a hunger and they have a drive that they want to go deep into the playoffs and even fight for the state championship. That's one of our goals, and I can see it in their eyes. It's not a team that I have to motivate a whole bunch before a game. You can tell they're ready to go. And I think we can keep that energy going as we progress down the line.
Mohrmann: From what you've seen of those traditional 8-Man powers, how do your boys match up right now?
Cary: Through different camps and different scrimmages and stuff, I would feel confident playing anyone in the state right now. There are some big teams out there like Sedgwick County. They've won four in a row. We know that they're tough and everything, but I'd be excited about the opportunity to play any one of those teams and our boys I think would be too.