Tim Lafferty: The People's Choice - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Tim Lafferty: The People's Choice - WGEM HS Football Coach of the Year

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Illini West head coach Tim Lafferty. Illini West head coach Tim Lafferty.

CARTHAGE, Ill. (WGEM) -- It was the start of his second year as the head coach of Illini West football and his team was coming off of a disappointing (5-5) campaign in 2011.

Tim Lafferty says he, "Didn't feel any pressure."

The Chargers responded over the following months by peeling off eight wins against arguably the most brutal schedule for any 2A team in the state of Illinois.

It was all held together by the 2012 People's Choice WGEM High School Football Coach of the Year.

"I think you have to have guys that are going to lead you and we had that this year," Lafferty told WGEM Sports.  

"We had a senior class that just wanted to get back in the picture as far as being relevant in the area and in the state, and I think they did that."

"One of our goals this year was to be able to bring Illini West back into the headlines of the state," added senior lineman Ethan Neally.

"Going (5-5) the year before really kind of took us off of the platform. So I think that getting in the state rankings during the year and beating some state ranked teams we were able to get our name back out there."

Illini West is a program that from the outside has been defined by trophies and championships, but inside the Charger locker room those accolades are only the tip of the iceberg.

"You find out over the years that there's more to it than the wins and the losses," Lafferty expressed.

"A lot of it is about the journey that you take, and I feel like we had a nice trip through the season."

Even though the Chargers didn't win a state title, they have plenty to look back on, including a road playoff win and sitting near the top of the West Central Conference.

"We had some big moments, like beating Rockridge who was state ranked and undefeated, and we also had some disappointing moments," said Lafferty.

"That's part of life, learning how to handle adversity and learning how to handle success, and learning how to move forward with as much class and dignity as you can."

In the end, Tim Laffertys' resume as a head coach over the years speaks for itself, both at Illini West and LaHarpe-Northwestern.

More importantly, the athletes he produces learn more than just how to block, or tackle.

"Not only did coach Lafferty strive for each one of his kids to be a better football player, but he really focuses on each man becoming a contributing member of society," said Ethan Neally.

"Making them good people, not only coaching football but coaching you for the rest of your life."

"The biggest thing is just the relationships with the young men," added Lafferty.

"You get to see them sometimes at their best and often times at their worst and you also try to move them in a manner that's hopefully going to make them good citizens and good family men."

"That's a big part of the process. It's more than being better football players with the X's and O's, you hope that you're impacting their lives some way in a positive manner."

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