COACHES CORNER: The inspiration behind Carroll’s exceptional start

Carroll’s Gabe Starks get into motion during September 2’s game against North Side. (Photo by Leverage Photography)

The Carroll Chargers have had an exceptional start to the 2022 season.

With their win last Friday against North Side. The Chargers’ improved to 3-0 on the year and are considered the top team in the SAC – for now anyway.

There is so much inspiration behind the Chargers’ early success on the gridiron this season. In many aspects, football is so much more than just playing games and recording stat lines. As a former player and coach, I am a firm believer that the relationships you build with your teammates go well beyond the football field. I was always told that football didn’t last forever, but the relationships you build with your teammates do.

This is certainly the case for the teammates of Owen Scheele.

Scheele saw action in several games for Carroll last season, including his epic start against Snider. Scheele completed 20 out of 40 passes for 388 yards and four scores. He was set to be the starting quarterback for the Chargers this fall as a senior.

Tragically on June 7, Carroll Nation faced heartache when Scheele passed away from a short battle with leukemia.

It was a shock to the entire Carroll and Fort Wayne community.

Life is so precious and is very hard to comprehend when events like this take place. The passing of Scheele has not only brought the Chargers together, but has also united the Fort Wayne football community as a whole.

We are blessed in this area with great workout facilities and off-season football programs where student-athletes can improve their skills, but also connect with other great players in the area. Owen was a teammate not just to the players at Carroll, but anyone else who was lucky enough to be with him in 7v7 and off-season football training.

I believe Snider coach Kurt Tippman said it best as the Chargers and Panthers met on the field before kick off two weeks ago, “Even though we are opponents, we are supporting you, because we know how tough it is”.

You see many other programs in the area echoing that sentiment, whether in monetary donations, gear or hashtags letting Owen’s legacy reach far beyond northwest Fort Wayne.

Now, the Carroll Chargers have a guardian angel watching over them this season, with the best seat in the house. Scheele was a player that was always there for his teammates and was genuinely an incredible person and leader.

Through this nightmare for so many, it goes to show that football is so much more than just a sport and creates a brotherhood that has life-long impacts.

The Chargers are turning a tragedy into triumph and dedicating their entire season to Owen Scheele. May their Friday Night Lights shine brighter and Neon Nation cheer louder in honor of their beloved Charger.

Wes Painter is a new contributor to Outside the Huddle. He played football at both Snider High School and Indiana State University. Following his playing career, Painter coached defensive line and special teams for the Sycamores before moving back to Fort Wayne. He served as an assistant coach at North Side from 2019-20.

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