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Never surrender, Never retreat

Reporter Jonathan Brunt follows the Rogers High School football team’s fall season. Though the team residing in the state’s poorest zip code went winless for the year, they formed an unbreakable brotherhood that they won’t ever forget.

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G-Prep’s Cole Witter, center, loses ball while tangling with Rogers’ Melik Hampton, left, and Robert Rucker. (Colin Mulvany)

Pups rally, top Rogers 61-55

Trailing Rogers by a dozen at the half, Gonzaga Prep boys basketball coach Matty McIntyre asked his Bullpups to dig a little deeper. To give a little more. The Bullpups already had given him plenty that day: They helped McIntyre say goodbye to his mother, Christy, who died on Jan. 8 and was laid to rest Friday in Post Falls.
Rogers High School coach Matt Miethe attends practice Sept. 24. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-reivew)

Rogers coach Matt Miethe to players: Prepare for life

The setting sun hits the orange Art Deco bricks, and the glow makes Rogers High School look like it’s on fire. In the adjacent field, the school’s football coach takes over a lackluster practice from his assistants, displaying energy he hasn’t had for days. Head coach Matt Miethe missed practice two days earlier, hooked up to an IV full of antibiotics at his home, hoping to avoid his 19th hospitalization in nearly as many years from the effects of an ailment that goes dormant but never fully leaves his system.
Among Marcus Phillips’ trademarks: his dark, curly locks.

Last men standing

Before a team meeting in the wrestling room at Rogers High School, the players gathered for the official team picture. Coach Matt Miethe prefers to have the team photo shot at the end of the season so that the Pirates who are memorialized in the yearbook are the players who made it to the end.   The 2013 final team photo of the Rogers Pirates had 43 players. Here are some of them: Marcus Phillips, the most recognizable kid on the team, with drooping, black, curly hair and braces, is one of several sophomore varsity starters who give the Pirates hope for the future.
Rogers High School special teams coach and Cooper Elementary School sixth-grade teacher David Casteal and his "learners" participate in catching footballs kicked by Rogers High School kicker Mads Tranberg on Oct. 16 on the Cooper playground. Casteal invited the Danish exchange student to visit the sixth-graders and teach them about Denmark. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Coaching, teaching mesh for Rogers’ David Casteal

David Casteal addresses his sixth-grade class as “learners,” as in: “Learners, here’s what going to happen.” On this October morning, Casteal’s learners at Cooper Elementary School are visited by Mads Tranberg, Rogers High School’s Danish foreign exchange student who recently made the football team’s first field goal in three years.
Rogers High head coach Matt Miethe, his children, and Rogers players and coaches gather for a Sunday prayer service at the Colbert Chapel on Oct. 27.

Despite winless season, Rogers High football team’s brotherhood is unbreakable

This is it.   The last time these players and these coaches will be a team.   The last time to play under the lights of Joe Albi Stadium.   The last chance to win.   The Rogers High School football team and their coaches stand shoulder to shoulder, arms around one another in a circle in the school’s wrestling room.    They are about to board a bus to their last game of the season.  “The friendships that you make, the bonds that you build, will last a lifetime. It’s never going to be like this again – even for those that have more games ahead of you, this circle will never be the same,” coach Matt Miethe says. “Here’s one last shot for this circle to go out and get the job done tonight.”