Traditional postgame prayer endures Print
News
Written by MITCH MAERSCH   
Wednesday, 15 November 2017 20:15

Win or lose, Rockets took a knee after every game to give thanks

Earning a trip to the state championship game in Madison wasn’t the only thing this year’s Cedar Grove-Belgium football team wanted to copy from last season’s squad.
About halfway through last season, the Rockets’ 15 seniors, led by quarterback Josh Weiss, began organizing a post-game team prayer at midfield and even asked their opponents to join them.
This year’s team got an earlier start on giving thanks and praise to God, kneeling after the season opener and every game since, 13 in all.
“We’re just giving all the glory to God, win or lose,” quarterback Jason von Heimburg said.
While it might seem difficult to gather with opponents right after 48 minutes of a violent game, the Rockets always invited the opposing team to join them. Most Big East and playoff foes did.
CG B PRAYER 11 16 17“It really shows me that we’ve got a lot of brotherhood,” senior center and prayer leader Ryan Wonser said.
“It’s really reassuring to know that I can go and just absolutely lay on a guy or some guy can lay on me during the game, and I can come back and hug it out and just be a brother with him. No hard feelings, just a good time and we both go home happy, I think.”
Some leave happier than others, especially during the postseason when one team is going home for good.
The Rockets remained spiritually dedicated, despite two crushing losses to end the last two seasons.

Last year, a controversial fumble call basically handed the state title game to Amherst. This season, the Rockets lost a heartbreaking semifinal game, 16-14, to Lake Country Lutheran, missing out on a second straight trip to Madison.
The Rockets prayed after both games with their opponents.
“Give God all that glory for the win, the loss, just being able to play because we’re young and we can bounce back from any injury,” Wonser said.
It couldn’t have been particularly easy for Rockets’ opponents, many of whom got demolished, but Hilbert joined in after being shut out, 21-0, in Cedar Grove-Belgium’s homecoming game on Oct. 6.
“Hilbert (players) are very nice people. It was awesome. It was like being out there with your own brothers,” senior Cameron Kirst said.
This season, the Rockets took sharing their faith further, writing “trust God” on their cleats for their first playoff game.
“It’s really just spreading God’s word and showing that it’s a greater purpose. It’s not just win or lose; it’s showing that he is the reason why we’re playing, to spread his word,” sophomore Michael Navis said.
Von Heimburg also wrote a Bible verse on his shoes, 1 Corinthians 10:31, which reads “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
“It’s kind of like what we do at the end of the game,” he said. “Whatever you do, give all the glory to God.”
Postgame prayers weren’t the only spiritual element to the team. The Rockets held pre-game prayers and prayer walks on at the field after Thursday night meals.
Many reference God in their postgame interviews, with senior Bryce Morgan adding “glory to God” after each one.
“That’s why I play. I play for the Lord. Every week we go, ‘Trust God.’ That’s our motto. No matter what happens, win or lose, we always trust him,” he said.
Not everyone on the team is religious, but they still participated.
“It doesn’t mean much to me. I’m not that religious. It’s just a team thing,” junior Chris Daniels said.
Coach Dan Schreurs watches in awe.
“It amazes me how the players put individual religions aside and come together as one team. The Belgium area being Catholic and the Cedar Grove area Dutch Reformed Protestant, and other religions in are the mix among the team, and all still come together as one to give thanks,” he said.
Schreurs said the prayer has trickled down to junior varsity. During one game, players prayed in the end zone as an opposing player was treated for an injury.