Schuckman: Best seat in house is alongside longtime coaches who delight in QHS’s success

QHS old coaches

From left, Randy Dickens, Jose Quintero and Jim Wosman watch the Quincy High School football team take on West Chicago in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs from the west end zone at Flinn Stadium. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — The best seat in the house doesn’t always provide the best view.

Let me explain.

Throughout this historic season the Quincy High School football team has engineered, I have sat in the west end zone during every home game. The spot was chosen strategically so the setting sun on Friday nights or the afternoon sun on Saturdays is at my back. Photos don’t look nearly as good shooting into the sun.

More so, that spot has afforded me the opportunity to see, hear and feel the emotion and intensity of the Blue Devils from pre-game warmups to post-game celebration. They’re writing an incredible story. I’m just the one typing it out.

From the end zone, I can see plays develop, watch holes open wide or shrink fast, and view the faces along the QHS sideline, whether the players and coaches are scowling mad or ear-to-ear ecstatic.

A higher view, either from the stands or the press box, allows you to see the full field, something I have always preferred. But I’ll take my seat over any other in Flinn Stadium this Saturday when Chicago Mount Carmel rolls into town for a Class 7A state quarterfinal, and here’s why.

I get to sit next to Jim Wosman. And talk to Jose Quintero and Randy Dickens. And interact with people who have invested years of time and energy into a program hoping this day may eventually come. Now it has, and they are savoring every moment.

Wosman has been part of the QHS program for more than 30 years and has yet to officially retire, partly because QHS coach Rick Little refuses to let him leave but mostly because being around the game and the players keeps the 70-something coach feeling young.

His on-the-field coaching days are done — Wosman was one of the best offensive line coaches you could find in this area — but contributes in other ways in the locker room. His presence is more than appreciated. It’s revered.

Quintero and Dickens have retired, both having served stints as the QHS head coach and as valuable resources as assistant coaches. Quintero led the Blue Devils from 1987-89, while Dickens was head coach from 2002-06 and guided the Blue Devils to the playoffs in 2003.

Although their whistles are put away, their passion for the game and for the program are as strong as ever.

It results in a running, entertaining conversation from kickoff to final horn.

Of course, there is a lot of talk about football. There are plenty of “did you see that block” or “what do you think he’ll do here” comments. There’s never any second guessing, but plenty of strategy being discussed. Those three sets of eyes have seen more football games and practices and film than probably anyone in this town.

What they love to talk about most are the players. They marvel at the talent and skill. They see what each player does that is special and different. They can tell who has been committed to the weight room and the offseason conditioning. They think about where each player might fit at the collegiate level, too.

Above all else, they celebrate what is taking place in front of them.

They cheer. They smile. They high-five. They relish seeing this program reach new heights.

As you watch their reactions, you understand what it means to see history unfold.

I’m blessed to have a front-row seat to it all.

As I see it, it’s the best seat in the house.

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