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Dana Hills senior Michael Vogeler. Photo by Tony Tribolet/
Dana Hills senior Michael Vogeler. Photo by Tony Tribolet/

High school football player reflects on his time spent as a Dolphins athlete

There is nothing like playing football under Friday night lights. The energy and the atmosphere are indescribable and omnipresent.

There are many sports in high school, but none are similar to football. Football draws the biggest crowds, the student section goes crazy and the school’s pride rests on the pads of all the players.

Most schools’ student body energy runs off of their football team. If the team wins, it uplifts the vibe on campus. It’s vice versa if they lose. In many ways, I think high school football teams bond the whole school together, to form one tight-knit community of students and staff.

Playing through high school, I have developed lifelong friendships, as well as memories I will remember for the rest of my life.

Going through two-a-days creates a brotherhood amongst the whole group. It was like I had 70 brothers I could tell anything and everything. Even though two-a-days is by far the biggest challenge of the season, it is where the band of brothers is created. When it is 100 degrees outside and your whole body is in pain, it doesn’t hurt nearly as bad knowing that all your best buddies are right there, by your side, going through all of it with you.

I was fortunate enough to spend my four years playing at Dana Hills, under a phenomenal coaching staff and great group of teammates. When head coach Todd Rusinkovich took over three years ago, it was the start of something we call the Dolphin Dynasty.

My junior season, I became a starter on defense, playing safety. I was originally an offensive player as a sophomore, but coach Rusinkovich moved me to defense. Initially I felt as if I belonged on offense, but then realized a move to the other side of the ball was best for the team.

That same year I was lucky to be a part of Dana Hills’ first ever league championship. The experience was unbelievable, and I am honored to have been a part of it. When I am older and come back to visit, it will be an awesome feeling, looking up at the lone football banner in the basketball gym, seeing the year 2012 emblazoned on it.

As a senior, I was expected to be a leader amongst my teammates. I had a great season, and we made the playoffs for the first time in five years. Unfortunately, we had a tough ending to the year, losing to Newport Harbor in the first round. But it was still an amazing experience to play in a playoff atmosphere in front of our home crowd.

Football is a sport where it takes a whole team to win. I’ve learned that if only 10 people do their jobs, and one person doesn’t, it can be the difference between a win and loss. If there is one thing that I will miss the most about high school football, it will be the memories and relationships I formed with my teammates.

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comments (2)


  • Brilliant Michael! Your passion for the sport, dedication to your teammates and coaches, and sense of school spirit are very clear and apparent in your words.
    I know that as you move forward in life, these traits will keep you on a positive and winning path 🙂

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