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By Taylor Hauser, Mount Vernon senior
MOUNT VERNON — Six years have passed since they played their first football game together. Now their senior season has ended.
Conner Shaffer, Jake Muller, Logan Walker, Marshall Tuerler and Mitchel Jilovec started playing football together when they were in sixth grade, through the Youth Sports Foundation (YSF). Marshall’s dad, Paul Tuerler, brought YSF to Mount Vernon in 2006 and the program has grown ever since.
These five have been three-year varsity letterwinners for Mount Vernon, moving up to the varsity level as sophomores.
“It has given me confidence in my abilities,” Muller said of his three years of playing linebacker and tight end.
Walker, the team’s primary quarterback this past season and a linebacker, said his three varsity seasons taught him “to stick with things even through the hard times.”
This past season, Walker, Muller, Tuerler and Jilovec were voted as team captains by their teammates. Their leadership helped bring the Mustangs their first state playoff appearance since 2006, ironically the same year they started playing YSF.
Although the players enjoyed the playoffs, they had lots of other favorite moments throughout the season.
Tuerler, a running back and strong safety, said his favorite memory was “rushing for 200 yards and scoring four touchdowns on Senior Night.” Walker and Muller highlighted their pass play to score the first touchdown in Solon’s new Spartan Stadium. Jilovec, a center and noseguard, liked his pick six at Camanche, the game that guaranteed the team’s spot in the playoffs.
The Mustangs went 5-4 in the regular season. They finished fourth in the district and played the first round of playoffs, where they fell to Union, 63-20.
Playing football together is one thing the five have cherished and will miss the most.
“Playing with my boys,” was Jilovec’s favorite part of his high school career.
Muller said he will miss “being with my teammates and playing the game I love the most.”
The Mustangs lose 15 seniors to graduation, but have high hopes for next year.
“I hope the underclassmen can do some good things and go far in the playoffs,” Muller said.