This story took place because as athletes, we know the hard work, commitment, blood, sweat, and yes, sometimes even tears, that go into becoming better. The 6:30a.m. workouts, the endless drills and repetitions, the practices that drag on, the bonding moments with your team, the adrenaline rush you get on game day, the crowd cheering, and playing in the games. All these and a thousand other little moments that when added up, make sports so challenging and rewarding. And while athletics require a huge amount of effort from the coaches and individual athletes to be successful, they also would not be possible without all the people working in the shadows. The parents, family, friends, and all the other supporters who come to games, drive you to practices, and support you in any way they can. Hawkeye Football and all of Hamilton's athletic programs are possible because of a whole community of people working together. This is why we created this photo story of the 2016 season. It will serve as a way to show appreciation to the fans and parents for the part that they play, while also allowing them to see the things that happen after they drop their kid off for practice or camp.
The Hamilton players make the first of many walks to the practice field for their first practice of the season.
The Hawkeyes get warmed up for the first day of practice.
Coach Stoel, the lineman coach who is back again after three years off, demonstrates what a correct lineman stance looks like.
Jonah Lousma and Kyle Brinkhuis push the sled with all their might during a conditioning workout called the Dirty Dozen.
Zach Tummel receives a high five as encouragement from his teammate Keyon Trice during conditioning.
Kyle Brinkhuis takes a drink of water at practice.
Trenton Lane sets a good example of what a football player should act like during the kids camp that the varsity football team runs.
Luke Driesenga and Teghan McMahon sign t-shirts at the community picnic, where people can come eat, play games, hang out, and meet the team.
Tyler Eding interacts with a Hamilton youth on Meeting the Team night.
Hawkeyes get pumped to take the field for their first game of the season, led by Head Coach Chris Myers, who returned to coach the Hawkeyes after three years off.
Jacob Sharp, the senior team manager who has Downs Syndrome, loves football and his teammates, and has been on the team since his freshman year, watches his teammates get ready to warm up before their game.
Jake Bommarito, Keaton Mudd, and Seth Buresh, the defensive, offensive, and special teams captains of the week prepare to represent their team for the coin toss.
The Hawkeyes celebrate their win after the first game of the season against Middleville Thornapple Kellogg.
Hamilton football alumni make a tunnel before the Hawkeyes first home game of the season, where 52 years of Hamilton football was celebrated and the alumni were honored.
Trenton Lane, a junior running back who became a key player for the team throughout the season, looks for the clear path way to make his way down the field.
The Hawkeyes break it down after their first win on their home field in three years.
Coach Myers leads his team onto the field for their game against Holland Christian, Hamilton's biggest school rival.
Seth Buresh gets his teammates fired up for the kickoff.
Jacob Sharp prepares to high-five his teammates as they take the field after half-time.
Quarterback Keaton Mudd prepares for impact from his Holland Christian defender.
Kyle Brinkhuis, the senior running back, looks for a way to get past his opponent.
Seth Buresh gets his wrist taped from the Hawkeye athletic trainer, Alicia Tock.
Head Coach Chris Myers restlessly waits for the play to unfold.
Coach Lefere, the special teams coordinator, gives Tyler Geurink some advice for the next play.
After the football team's record of three wins in the past three years, the Hamilton student section celebrates the Hawkeyes impressive 4-0 record.
Jacob Sharp and his teammates honor America by standing for the National Anthem.
John Dekkinga drags his opponent to the ground.
Center, Tyler Eding, gets ready to snap the football to quarterback Keaton Mudd.
Seth Buresh and John Dekkinga take down the Holland Dutch quarterback.
A herd of the Hawkeyes celebrate with Trenton Lane after scoring a touchdown.
Jacob Sharp helps John Dekkinga get turf off his arm.
The Hawkeyes celebrate their win against Holland by singing the Hamilton fight song.
Coach Stoel closes in prayer, just like he does after every game.
Coach Myers, wearing his ever-present camo hat, watches his players get set to snap the ball.
Tyler Geurink, Nolan DeJonge, and Sawyer McMahon wrap up their Byron Center opponent in Hamilton's homecoming game where the Hawkeyes received their first loss.
Senior captains Seth Buresh and Keaton Mudd link hands as they walk out onto the field for the coin toss.
Quarterback Keaton Mudd and center Tyler Eding warm up with ballboy Benjamin Myers.
Tyler Geurink tackles a Zeeland West player from behind.
John Dekkinga runs the football for a touchdown against Zeeland West, which was unfortunately not enough to get the win.
During the post-game speech, Jacob Sharp comforts Nolan DeJonge, who dislocated his shoulder in their play against Unity Christian.
The Hawkeyes take a moment to honor Matthew Alan Kleinheksel, a player who died from cancer in 2001, by touching his memorial before they take the field. This is a ritual before every home game.
The Hawkeyes line up for the National Anthem before their last home game of the season.
Nolan DeJonge encourages his teammates from the sidelines as they play the game that will clinch their spot in the playoffs.
Coach Myers scans the field while Benjamin Myers, his son and ballboy, shadows him.
In their first playoff game since 2012, the Hawkeyes line up one last time to listen to the National Anthem.
Nolan DeJonge stops the run against Edwardsburg, Hamilton's first, and only, playoff opponent.
Tyler Geurink and Jacob Sharp hug each other as they watch the final minutes of their last game as a Hawkeye.
Coach Myers emphasizes a point in his post-game speech after Hamilton's final game of the season.
Senior Seth Buresh, the last in a long line of Buresh boys to play Hamilton football, looks out onto the field with his father after his very last high school football game.