The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The last touchdown

Coach and players reflect on football season
Graphic by Vanessa Durphy

“Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.”
-George Halas, Chicago Bears founder and former owner and coach

This perfectly sums up GRC’s 2023 football season. 

The GRC football players played their absolute best all season. We may not have won every game or placed number one but we had a great season. 

Head Coach Joe Chirico is proud of our boys and their performance this year. 

“Our players battled adversity early on throughout the season and responded to it exactly how every coach would want their team to respond,” he says. “Through camp, they developed that bond into a brotherhood and started playing for each other and for the betterment of the team.”

Chirico also noted that he is proud of his players’ performance in the classroom. “Our students’ attentiveness in the classroom has improved since we started here at GRC,” he said. “Our student-athletes understand that my coaching staff and I are going to hold them to a higher standard in all aspects of their life. At the end of the day, we want our student-athletes to grow up to be great fathers, husbands, and men in their community.”

With a total of 7 losses and 5 victories, the GRC players still believe they had a very successful season as a team. 

“Though we didn’t have a winning season, I felt like as one unit, we had a pretty good season,” said wide receiver Camahni John.

Middle linebacker Tajada Hooten said he feels optimistic about this year’s GRC season.  

“This was a rough season for all the boys and our coaches but we pulled through and won games that nobody thought we could,” he says. “When the odds were stacked against us, we held our ground and fought our way to victories. It isn’t about the game but the player and their determination.” 

Going into the 2023-2024 football season, the players knew they’d have a tough road ahead because of their schedule. But as one of our football players explained, some players just had “that dog in them” and pulled through to do things nobody expected. 

Chirico leaves our Cards with this statement: “To this group of seniors, the coaching staff and myself wish you all the best in your future endeavors. Set goals, create a plan to reach those goals, and put in the work to reach those goals.”

He added that once a Cardinal, always a Cardinal. “You are always welcome back here,” he says. “We want to see you come around as much as possible and build the tradition here at George Rogers Clark.”

Chirico goes a step further, sending a message to the 2024 graduating seniors along with every person who played football in Clark County since 1960.

“This is home! Every alumni who has played the game of football in Clark County, it is up to each of you and this coaching staff to build this program up. It takes a village to raise the standard of our program and we want all of the alumni to be involved with the building of that.”

Chirico reviewed the highs of the 2023 season:

  • Hosting the inaugural Clark County Hall of Fame Bowl. We look to continue to build that bowl game.
  • Beating a tradition rich program such as Belfry High School for the second time in school history.
  • This senior group of players beat Montgomery County 3 out of 4 games over the course of their careers, as well as beating Henry Clay for the first time since 2009.

“The lows would obviously be seeing our team fall short at the end of the year and that’s not on our kids. That is on myself and my coaching staff,” Coach Chirico said. “We are going to fix that over the course of this upcoming off-season. Go Cards!”

As Phil Jackson, retired professional coach, explained: “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”

And our team is a powerhouse. 


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About the Contributor
Vanessa Durphy, Multimedia Staff
Hello I’m Vanessa Durphy, and I am a senior multimedia staff member of Smoke Signals. I would describe myself as a wild child. When I’m not at school or at work I am always at the gym. The gym is my home away from home. My friends would describe me as a bit slow sometimes but very bubbly and always happy. My top three favorite things in this world are music, flying a plane and my animals. Any song could come on and I’d be dancing. Any plane I see in the sky I’m taking a picture, I want to be a pilot more than anything. And oh my, if there is any animal in my view I will make them my best friend. I’m an open book and am always down for new experiences and meeting new people. So if you see me taking photos at a game or in the hallways, please don’t be shy and say "Hey."

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