Congratulations to the Edison High Tigers, who won their first Division I section title in 39 years! Kudos to Andy Boogaard, for his article featuring Player of the Year, two-way starter Vance Sams. Rather than boast about stats (according to Coach Matt Johnson, Sams played 90% of the team’s total snaps — offense, defense, special teams), Sams credits his support group. This group included booster Mike Ryan, Coach Johnson, and principal Lindsay Sanders.
Coaches say “It takes a team” when referring to wins and finishing strong. Sams relied not only on his team for the “win,” but the Fresno Unified support team for his survival. That began with Coach Johnson. Sams trusted Johnson enough to ask for help. Johnson, linked with Tigers booster Ryan to draw up an emergency playbook: How to save Vance Sams. Mr. Ryan became a weekly presence in Sams’ life.
Boogaard’s article emphasized Sams’ heartfelt gratitude to not only his teammates, but to his support team. I recall Coach Johnson saying in past Bee articles “its about character.” Johnson gets it. He truly cares about the athletes he coaches on and off the field. Good character starts with great leadership. Cheers to Johnson for putting “character” first.