By HARRISON HAMLET
(RIDGEWAY, Va.) – Magna Vista’s football program is not an old one. It is not loaded with a tradition or history other programs lean on.
For the last 12 seasons, however, head coach Joe Favero has established a new tradition for the Warriors, a tradition of consistency in winning and consistency in character.
On Friday night, with a 62-0 win over Martinsville, Favero was rewarded for his efforts on the practice field, in the film room, and on the sideline with his 100th win as the Chief of his tribe.
“I’m just proud of the way we’ve been able to put things together. We have had highs all the way to the top and our lows have not been very low,” Favero said. “I have to credit the dedication of the players and coaches. Every year we put out a quality product. I’ve been fortunate to have a great group of kids that have come through and they have worked as hard as we have pushed them.”
In those 12 years, Favero’s 100 wins have spanned six Piedmont District titles and two VISAA State Championships, won in back-to-back fashion in 2014 and 2015.
Favero recalled the state championship years as being defined by selfless players willing to play their role in the brilliant physical theatre that was watching those teams.
When pressed for his favorite memory or game, it wasn’t a play or a win or a trophy that Favero pointed to, but rather the relationships he has formed with his players as they have grown into men with careers and families of their own.
“I’d say it’s all about the kids. The winning is a bonus,” Favero said. “I’ve been very fortunate to win a lot of games. There are kids that still reach out as they grow up and you keep up with them and their families. That is special. Then, there are relationships with assistant coaches and the community in trying to put out a good football team every year. We try to help develop quality kids that understand that dedication and hard work can take you a long way in life.”
Favero said that he learned a lot from his father John, who was head coach at Bassett from 1974 to 1981, but also from the coaches he played for and coached with along the way, pointing to Richard Savage as a big influence.
Now, as a head coach influencing up-and-comers in the coaching ranks, Favero has one key message for his assistants: Be yourself.
“Whenever I hire young guys the first thing I tell them is ‘be yourself.’ You can’t go and coach like somebody, you have to coach like you,” Favero said. “If you’re an in your face, intense coach, you can’t pretend to be a calm guy. Be yourself, you’ll find out what your philosophy is. The kids will see that and know who you are. I’ve tried to be who I am and have a good relationship with the kids. We’re all going to do this together, so let’s do things the right way and push ourselves.”
Favero noted that three of his assistant coaches have been on the sideline with him for all 12 of his seasons at Magna Vista: Joe Fielder, who coaches defense, John Schlueter, who is an offensive assistant, and Drew Lowery, who brings intensity to the sideline while coaching special teams and linemen.
“Having the same coaches and everybody knowing their role and knowing what we’re trying to do has helped tremendously,” Favero said.
With the talent currently on the field for the Warriors (4-1) it is likely Favero will keep piling on the wins, and keep passing the credit along to his players and assistants along the way.
Whenever there is a new face on the sideline at Magna Vista, they won’t be taking over a program short on tradition. They will be taking the clipboard from a head man driven to have success in the face of his own intense humility. They will be following in the footsteps of a man who has done more than put his stamp on the record books. They will be taking over from a legend in the Henry County community first, and on the field second.
FAVERO – Magna Vista head coach Joe Favero has created a culture of winning in Ridgeway, where players wear the Warrior logo on their helmet (pictured) with pride. (Enterprise photo by Harrison Hamlet)