Even with the chill of the night air, Maize South football coach Brent Pfeifer was delighted to get the celebratory Gatorade bath.
The Mavericks defeated Lighthouse Christian 28-25 on Saturday night in Springfield, Mo., earning the first-year program its first win in four attempts.
"We were trying not to put a lot of pressure on ourselves this year, but the coaches were getting pretty stressed," Pfeifer said. "But we continued to work and the kids never stopped believing. Their attitudes were great and they really deserved to feel what it's like to get a victory."
Maize South opened its inaugural season on Sept. 4 with a 26-13 home loss to Lighthouse Christian. Having faced the team before gave the Mavericks an opportunity to see how much they had improved.
"This was a way for everyone in the program to see we are headed in the right direction," Pfeifer said. "We're getting better fundamentally and learning as we go."
The Mavericks started the game off by running the opening kickoff back for a touchdown.
At the end, with 2.9 seconds remaining, Lighthouse Christian had one shot at the end zone, but the Mavericks stopped the comeback attempt.
"They had a chance to win, but we came through," Maize South junior Evan Allen said. "It was like a rush went over everyone when the game ended."
The news of their win spread quickly, beating the team bus back to Maize. When the Mavericks arrived back to the school at around 1 a.m., a small contingent of parents and students waited.
No longer winless, the Mavericks have a renewed sense of excitement, Allen said.
"We don't want to get big-headed," Allen said. "This was just a step forward. Now we know what it feels like to win a game. This is a fresh start, it's like our record is 0-0."