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DAVE CONNELL & DAVE TOWELS MEMORIAL
What 444 stands 4 in 2007
A Heartbreaking Season
A Year to Remember
The season started out exciting, guys wanted to start practice in january. A player from last year was coming on board to help raise money for the team. Fundraisers were started and going well.
Then the bombs started hitting. The person that wanted to help, thought he was going to own the team and players. It put a burden on the team. It finally fell through, but not forgotten. Many threats were made and the problem is still not solved, but is being worked on as I write.
Then Coach Connell was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq on may 12. Many tears were shed and hearts ripped apart. Coach connell had been with the red and black team for almost two years. He became our good friend and coach and ended our hero. He died at 4:44 and those numbers stayed with us throughout the season. In honor of coach connell, team members made it to arlington cemetery to his funeral. They also had a special tatoo made in his honor with a red and black ribbon attached to our logo. The team stayed together strong. Everyone working together. First efl game we won 44-9, the second 44-0.
Our 4th EFL game, on August 4th, was against Vermont and we lost 17-16. The Red and Black went on to win a total of 4 games with 40 or more points. Then another heartbreaking tragedy happened, president of the red and black, rob freeman, lost his wife, heather, in a tragic motorcycle accident. 4 corners, 4 vehicles, 4 seconds. The pain, the heartache, the tears, so many tears. Then one of the players wives went into the hospital and was admitted in room 444. The games go on, the red and black stay together, focused, not forgetting the heartaches, but focusing on the goal they set out to do.
The Red and Black are 44 points ahead of Vermont in the overall stats of the EFL (in scoring points) before the championship game. The efl championship game is here, the rain is coming down, the fans are screaming. The red and black is winning 8-3. It is the 4th quarter and vermont has the ball. They are on their 4th down, 4 yards to go and with 4 seconds remaining they get a touchdown to win the game 9-8. Time 4:44 4 corners, 4 vehicles, 4 seconds 4th down, 4 yards to go, 4 seconds on the clock and time runs out. As quoted by vince lombardi: “second place is meaningless. You can’t always be first, but you have to believe that you should have been—that you are never beaten, time just runs out.” “all of the glamour, all of the noise, all of the excitement, all of the color, they linger only in memory, but the spirit, the will to excel, the will to win, they go on forever.” in life, in spirit, in football. Our next season—the nationals: 4 games, 4 wins, forever.
This season has definitely been my most challenging one, but from the bottom of my heart I want to sincerely thank those who care and played for this team, the Watertown Red and Black, the oldest semi-pro team in america.
We may not have had the 4 wins as stated in the message above, but we will go on forever. It was worth going on, because it made me realize how much you players do care, it was just tough with having a 4 week layoff. To be able to honor Coach Connell and have 4 teammates, just returning from Iraq, play for us one more time was worth it and I thank you for that.
To all of you that do care for this team, my family and I thank you. And for those of you that do care, I will see you next year.
Sincerely, Coach Ashcraft
Our thoughts and prayers are with you
Through the years many military men have played on our team. Great friendships have been made. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the military and their families at this time.
Wednesday, April 6
REST IN PEACE
#56 - Center - Dave Towles
2008 Sportmanship Award
2009 1st Team All Star
12/20/87 - 10/31/09
Thank you Steve Hall and Micks Graphics for the photos.
We went to see the cross today that was put on the tree where your accident was. It would have been your 22nd birthday.
When we received the sad news of your accident, your dad called and asked if you could be buried in your Red and Black #56 jersey. The answer was definitely yes.
The calls started coming in from the players and friends asking if it was true about your accident. Every time I said yes, it hit me harder, but nothing hit me as hard as when I went to the locker room like I did every Saturday, opened up the back room, took your jersey off the hanger and knew that when I turned around, you weren’t going to be there to hand it to. I couldn’t move. Diana and I started crying and I just couldn’t move.
I think my phone rang and I knew I had to get home, because the players were coming to sign your white jersey.
The funeral director called me and asked me if I had a black long sleeve shirt to put on you under your jersey. I said of course. I can’t tell you how good it makes me feel to know that you are wearing my
red and black shirt to keep you warm. You were one of the best Dave; player, person and friend.
Now we have two friends looking down on us on the football field. When you try out for that football team in heaven, look up Coach Dave Connell, because he was one of the best too. He died a Hero and you died a Champion.
Rest in Peace, my friend
Gone, but not forgotten