BIG SANDY — It was a historic day for Big Sandy as the Pioneers captured their first ever state title in football after defeating Broadview-Lavina 67-27 on Saturday.
Big Sandy had been the talk of the division dating back to last season when they fell short in the semifinals to eventual champion Froid-Lake. The Pioneers were a young team with no seniors, and they returned all of those players for this season. They came back stronger and more hungry and put together a perfect season and held up the trophy at the end of Saturday’s game.
“I’m happy for the boys,” said coach Larry Jappe. “They worked hard and did what they needed to do to win a state championship.”
Its been a long time coming for the Pioneers as they have had great playoff runs in the past but could never get the job done. In 2012, before Jappe was the head coach, the Pioneers had another shot at winning the state title but Hot Springs would be crowned that year.
In the three seasons before 2022, Jappe lead his team to the semifinals but that would be the end of the road for them.
“They’ve seen us get really close three times and lose it,” Jappe says. “I’m happy for the boys, I’m happy for the town, I’m happy for the school. We finally got our first state championship in football.”
This is not the ceiling for this Big Sandy football program. When asked if this was the Pioneers at their best, coach Jappe smiled and respectfully declined.
“I won’t say this is Big Sandy at its best. We did what we needed to do and won this game,” said Jappe. “We have three or four starters returning, and I imagine these guys are going to start working and want to keep this rolling. I've got a good sophomore class coming up, a good junior class coming up, so you might see us back here next year.”
A part of that junior class is is running back and defensive back Cooper Taylor. Cooper scored three touchdowns in the first quarter of the state championship game, including a long touchdown run on the very first play. After winning on the biggest stage and looking ahead to next year, he says that he expects another legendary season.