Hennesy advocates developing self-respect

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Pawhuska High School football coach Matt Hennesy challenged his players and others in his audience the evening of Jan. 4 at the Constantine Theater to strive for more in life than just getting by.

Hennesy lamented that it has “become OK to be OK” rather than aspiring to excellence. He commented during the annual awards ceremony for members of the PHS football team. Hennesy’s Pawhuska Huskies teams have qualified for the playoffs all five years that he has been their leader. His overall record at Pawhuska is 46 wins, 16 losses, and the Huskies have made it to the Class A semifinals twice under his leadership.

Hennesy urged his listeners to learn to love and respect themselves.

“You can’t lie to yourself and you can’t fool yourself,” Hennesy said, explaining that if a person doesn’t give his or her best effort, that lack of effort is known at least inwardly, to the individual.

“Work till you’re not disrespecting yourself. Earn your respect,” Hennesy said.

The coach’s exhortation to players, their family members and members of the broader Pawhuska community came on a night when he and other Pawhuska High School coaches honored football players for their efforts on the playing field last fall. Additionally, students were recognized for classroom excellence.

John Reed, a senior who excelled as a linebacker on the football team and maintained a 4.0 average in the classroom, received the highest of the football honors – the Ormand Beach Award. The Beach Award, voted on only by the players, is the most-coveted distinction a Pawhuska Huskie can earn. Reed led the team in tackles and has been selected the top linebacker in District 2-8 for 2022.

Looking ahead to next season, Hennesy said the Huskies will spend at least another year in Class 2A. Pawhuska moved up to 2A in 2022 and finished the season with a record of 6 wins, 5 losses including a playoff loss to Victory Christian.

Hennesy said the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA) plans to divide Class 2A and Class A. He speculated that Pawhuska would probably end up at some point in either the bottom half of 2A or the top half of 1A. He also pointed to excellent showings last year by Junior High and Junior Varsity players for Pawhuska Public Schools as a reason to be optimistic about the future of Huskies football.