Thank you, Toll Gate Football

Jacob Vann

Jacob Vann

Jacob Vann

I am Jacob Vann and I played football this past year at Toll Gate High School. I’m also a senior.  So, this was my last year, (maybe), playing football forever.  

I’m so grateful for the new coaching staff that was hired, especially head coach Mr. Miceli.  They made it amazing for me to really play to my fullest capability. To have a coach as great as we did, I consider myself lucky.  I wish we had him years prior. You can tell he truly cares about all of us and the team by doing everything he can for us. 

As a player, the coaches helped me reach a level I thought I wasn’t even capable of. They all had such a huge impact on me as a person and player.  It was with the coaches help that I won Defensive MVP and All Division Second Team for Quarterback.  I know they’ve given me the greatest lesson of life, I will never doubt myself nor give up ever again in my life. 

Our coaches brought an atmosphere to the team that we all wanted to be a part of.  There was an insane difference between coaching styles this year from previous years.  As a four year player, I can say that just in one year I felt a tremendous impact. Even after doing everything we could and still ended up losing, Coach Miceli never downed us.  He always saw what we were supposed to be.  At many halftimes, Coach Miceli would talk to us and tell us how the game was most definitely not over and we have a lot more to give.  The team took a lot from those talks and always showed up in the second half of games.  Sometimes that’s all it takes. I know for a fact that after hearing those things, something would just switch.  After the game, knowing you gave it your all, makes you feel even better about yourself.  (Maybe not as good as winning but still pretty good.)

Out of all my years playing, I had my biggest leap with this group of people. I’m so thankful for my coaches. It was always a huge goal ever since I was a freshman to win an MVP and a Division team and it finally happened.  There was no greater feeling than accomplishing that. 

Even though my last year didn’t go as planned, I wouldn’t change a single thing about any of it.  I know this program has a bright future. The biggest thing for me was as soon as Coach Miceli took over, he got us all new equipment. For years prior, we had been struggling with that.  He pushed for so many things, like getting Hudl learning videos, equipment and even new jerseys.  The team was missing jerseys because we didn’t have enough for everyone to suit up for the games. 

We had a new thing with our team this year.  The coaches had players of the week.  Whoever it was got to run out with the flags.  The coaches even bought us flags because they even know that football was killed for us with the previous coaches.  This group of coaches showed us what it is really like to be a part of a team. 

This year’s team was so special for me in many ways. My brother Sean is actually an assistant coach on our team. To have him be there for every game, knowing he was watching, was also really a cool thing for me.  All the friendships you gain from playing on a team is amazing because there is not one person that you don’t talk to.  It literally becomes a family no matter who you are, or what you do.  Playing on a football team is just a great experience.  I’ll miss it forever. 

During our last two to three games, we all knew it was going to come to an end soon. I realized my playing career may be over forever.  So, I started playing with everything I had.  That feeling was indescribable.  That realization of “this is your last practice and the last time you’ll ever play a high school game again” is ridiculous. Our last game together was the most emotional thing.  Just trying so hard to not cry was difficult.  I felt like we did it all and it was just crazy. 

I remember scoring my first touchdown of the year.  It was crazy because even last year we never really scored at all the whole season. This year was very different. We scored more in the second half of the year but it was just an unreal thing.  Just to be able to go out and do that when we really couldn’t before was amazing. 

Always being nervous before games is another feeling I’ll miss. This is because it makes me play well. It’s like why was I nervous in the first place like nothing can even replicate anything like the feeling from football.

Lastly, I would like to thank everyone just one more time for being great teammates and friends. It’s something I’ll hold onto for the rest of my life. The coaches have really done a lot for the team from fundraising to really taking care of us and doing a really good job.  This football team has changed my perspective on a lot of things and changed my life for the better.