Viborg-Hurley Makes Dramatic Turnaround

Viborg-Hurley Makes Dramatic Turnaround

VIBORG, SD…Building a football program is in many ways like farming, taking patience and time.

“We’ve put a lot of work in the last four years and yeah, I think it’s ready to pick the harvest.” Viborg-Hurley Football Head Coach Rob Kessler says.

The difference at Viborg-Hurley is that Rob Kessler comes off less as a farmer and more….

“Sometimes they think I’m a drill sergeant!” Kessler says.

“He does got the voice with him! But we know he’s not yelling at us, he knows that we can be a lot better than we are.” Viborg-Hurley Junior QB/DB Chase Mason says.

And that isn’t a coincidence.

A native and alum of the school, Kessler serves in the Air Force, taking a leave as coach two years ago while he was deployed in the middle east near Iraq and Syria, returning last year with a new perspective.

“You see what people live through in a third world country, and you come back to as cushy as we have it here, it kind of changes your whole sentiment.” Kessler says.

Which would be tested in ways he couldn’t imagine last September when one of his players, Kelley Fox, was killed in automobile accident with 19-year old Brady Patterson.

“We definitely kept that in mind and kept them with us on the field at all times and just played for them and pushed through it.” Mason says.

“These kids are family to me. And when I lost those two boys, who were like family to me as well, it definitely puts thing in perspective and it has brought us together.” Kessler says.

And success began to take root.

After a 4-4 finish last year the Cougars are 7-0 this season and heading to the playoffs for the first time in five years.

“We just have a really good group of guys that work together. This has been a long time for Viborg and Hurley people, waiting just for this to happen. It’s finally happened and they’re really excited.” Mason says.

Whether this year’s crop leads to Viborg-Hurley’s first state championship remains to be seen, but Kessler hopes the seeds planted on this field….

“We’re trying to build these young men into well developed, strong character, hard working young men that can go out into society and help this country get better.” Kessler says.

…will grow long after the Cougars leave it.

In Viborg Zach Borg, KDLT Sports.

Categories: High School Sports, Sports, Sports Top Story