MAROA — Fourteen years and seven state championship appearances later, Maroa-Forsyth football head coach Josh Jostes says the 2006 team was the best team he's ever had.
Make that the best team, in his opinion, in the history of IHSA Class 2A. He and assistant coach Jon Kidd, who is now the defensive coordinator, say the 2006 team had no weaknesses.
Re-watch the 2006 state championship win over Westville, which completed a perfect season, with the two coaches.
"I'll be honest, we were really good," Jostes said. "Really good. This Westville team is one of the top three teams we've ever played against. The nerves were a little bit, but I trusted our kids."
Maroa romped most of its opponents that year, but got off to an uncharacteristically slow start and was tied 14-all going into halftime before Jostes said the team settled down in the second half, which started with an onside kick before Maroa broke away for the win.
Jostes and Kidd discuss how standout receiver Robert Kreps turned into one of the best receivers in the state with quarterback Luke Hockaday throwing him the ball and Shane Conaway as the team's running back. Maroa got big contributions from Tyler Roush, who was back from injury after suffering two broken legs that dated back to summer 7-on-7.
Immediately after the game, Jostes had a state championship hat on and some players had pre-made t-shirts. All three of Jostes' kids were there, including his daughter Brynn, who was born in Week 9.
"I think that was cool," Jostes said. "We have a cool picture of all of us and the boys are little, so that was all pretty cool."
It was the first state championship for Jostes and Kidd, and they've gone on to win one more and have a total of eight title game appearances. But this one, they said, set the culture. Kidd has recently watched the game and Jostes hadn't watched it for a while before Thursday afternoon.
Kidd was a single guy around the age of 25 in his third year with the team, who was in the weight room with the players and sometimes on the scout teams. He's still close with members of this group.
"This one, relationship-wise with the kids, this group of kids I still have relationships with now," Kidd said. "Tyler Roush is like my little brother. We talk every single day. This group was a special group."