After every game, Delta head coach Chris Overholt speaks at the post-game huddle. Sometimes he gets to talk about the good things while other times it’s the not-so-good attributes.
However, after the Eagles fell to Bishop Chatard 35-6 in Friday’s regional championship, he didn’t talk about the game.
“[I told them] that I love them,” he said. In football in Indiana, you are together for almost a full year. And then those years add up real quick and you're with people for four years and people definitely become part of your family.”
This season marked the eighth year that Overholt had been the commander and chief of Delta football. In all of those seasons, this was the closest team that he had ever coached.
“We've had some really good groups here, but they were truly in it for one another,” he said. “A lot of unselfishness in terms of people getting the carries and people playing.”
One of the biggest reasons for that was the 12 seniors that wore the blue and gold for the last 13 Friday nights. For senior Kaiden Bond, the hardest part about finishing his high school football career is walking away from the brotherhood that the Eagles had.
“These are my brothers,” Bond said. “I’ve played every year with them from elementary school to middle school and to high school. It's special seeing how everybody's grown up and become their own man.”
The contest with the Trojans started very slow for the Eagles (8-5). Multiple punts and two Bishop Chatard touchdowns in the first quarter forced the Eagles to try and come from behind. However, the Trojan (13-0) defense continued to be a staple and aided Bishop Chatard in keeping its undefeated record alive.
The only score for Delta was when Bond found the end zone in the fourth quarter. To Overholt, this play was a prime example of how the seniors made their mark on the season.
“They never walked into a game thinking that they were going to lose,” he said. “That's my mentality [because] we prepare to win.”
One of those players who propelled himself to lead the defense was senior Braxton Russell. The defensive lineman led the team with 11.0 sacks and broke the career record for tackles for loss.
“Playing with a bunch of dudes like this, there's nothing like it,” Russell said. “They're all competitive. They all want to win as much as anybody. I loved this year and I wouldn't change it for the world.”
With this being the first year that Delta won a sectional championship since 2016, the seniors believe that the younger Eagles must continue where they left off.
“I think they need to take some of the leadership and lead the new underclassmen and keep some of the grittiness of this season moving forward,” Bond said.
While the temperature dropped to 45 F, that did not drive away the Delta crowd as they stayed to cheer on the Eagles for the final time of the season.
“Having our community behind us just means the world to us,” Russell said. “We played for all of our friends and our family, even from different schools.”
To Overholt, his eight years coaching in Delaware County has reminded him why the area is special.
“It's my home,” he said. “I went to Delta. I think Delaware County did a great job tonight showing out and showing support for us, and that's why I love this community.”
Contact Zach Carter with comments at email@example.com or on X @ZachCarter85.