A letter to the 2022 Bearcats

Photo credit: Reggie McLeroy

By Kyle Roberts

To the 2022 Ruston Bearcats,

First and foremost, I would like to extend very heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you, whether players, coaches, staff, or admin for this football program that I have held dear ever since I walked the hallowed halls of Ruston High School over twenty years ago. Before anything else, I want to say thank you.

This has been a special season on the football field for all of you, and of course, for all of us since we’ve been able to watch you compete and work together. You absolutely earned the top seed of the playoffs by staring down a brutal schedule in non-district, and then breaking a decades-long curse by beating West Monroe and winning an outright district title. On behalf of Bearcat football fans everywhere, again, I say thank you.

Following you this year was as enjoyable of an experience a broadcaster/writer could have. I interviewed many of you for feature stories, and I came to watch practice on a weekly basis. You always felt like so much more than just a football team. You were a brotherhood that was leading out for a community on a much larger scale.

We saw that first hand last night. An entire town shut down in solidarity to come support you with a sea of red that dwarfed the opposing fanbase nearly 2-to-1, and their school was only thirty miles away. Our Ruston red made a statement in the Caesar’s Superdome last night and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that we’ll see more of this in New Orleans in the near future.

I know this is not the ending we had hoped for. And although you may feel like you fell short, I can assure you, that is not the case.

Because the truth is this: you deserve our heartfelt thanks regardless of the outcome of the title game last night. Your effort, energy, attitude, swagger; all of that united a community this year in ways I never imagined. You reminded us that while football is “just a sport,” our hometown is always at another level when it has something to rally behind. We’ll always have these memories we can cherish forever.

I count myself so fortunate that I had the chance to broadcast your games this season, and your 2022 team will, rightly, enter into the storied Bearcat teams we’ll be talking about generations from now.

And you’ve paved the way for even brighter things in the future, both on the field and off for our firmly-founded Ruston, Louisiana.

One last time, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.