St. Michael’s current football head coach Hugh Brown and assistant coach Billy Showers crossed paths a decade ago as parents involved with the youth flag football scene. Brown could see strong character values within Showers back then as a head coach of Brown’s son’s team.
Fast forward to today and Brown will immediately clarify that Showers’ persona hasn’t changed at bit.
“We’ve held a friendship for 10 or 11 years,” Brown said. “In all of that time, he’s the hardest worker that I’ve ever met in my entire life. He comes into practice at times after dealing with work all day and takes care of all of the little things. If you name it, [Showers] will get it done.”
Showers definitely has a valuable presence in many areas. Outside of working with the team’s linemen, the three-year assistant coach handles prepares the water and equipment bags, drives the bus, prepares the food, and takes care of the field, among other duties. He also operates as St. Michael’s “character coach,” a position that he personally enjoys, and leads the school’s varsity baseball team.
Even with all of the tasks, Showers himself admits that he doesn’t think too much of it. One could say it all comes naturally.
“I didn’t realize how much I did until [Brown] started telling me,” Showers said with a laugh. “It’s because I don’t really think about stuff like that. I just do it because I want to do it. It’s just the way I am, being a go-getter.”
Following an impressive 8–1 season in 2018, the program’s now entered the VISAA Division III classification and have high hopes to continue success against new challenges. Showers feels that his players have put in the work since the winter to be physically prepared but camaraderie will undoubtedly play a role just as, if not, more important.
“We’ve been practicing and training hard, for sure. The whole key is to watch these kids develop and grow. One of the best parts of the team, in my eyes, is that everybody rallies around everybody. That’s what amazing for us; we might be small but we’re big in heart and big on being there for one another. We’ve got talent, both old and new. If they can come together as one, I feel we can be pretty dangerous.”
Using a fullback-centered offense, transfer Shymarr Wright from Riverbend will act as a main catalyst in the backfield. Another new face, Jalen Smith from Life Christian Academy (and a former all-state pick at Stafford) takes over at quarterback. Hunter Showers and Colton Bubar are cause for excitement in the team’s plans for diverse offensive execution. Brown acknowledges that strong blocking from the offensive line, led by last year’s team offensive MVP, Jacob Baker, will be key.
Baker and Austin Riddle return as starters on the defensive line. Melvin Spriggs, who’s been a linebacker in the past, also has the capabilities to play on the line some and had a great camp. The coaches are big on defense and typically adjust their sets based on what type of opponent the team’s facing. Four starters on offense will make up the linebacker group, as Matthew Brown comes back as the only starter from 2018. Coach Brown said that Showers has a “relentlessness” to him at the cornerback spot and Smith will hold a big role spending time at strong safety.
Bubar has years of kicking experience and confidently knows he can connect on attempts from the deep middle whenever St. Michael’s chooses to try a field goal. Both he and Smith can work as punters.
THE BOTTOM LINE
As the program enters its third year, St. Michael’s exudes excitement about returning experience and what lies ahead for the team in taking on bigger challenges within VISAA Division III. Coach Brown wants his team not to focus nearly as much on the win-loss column but on how well the players can work to achieve their fullest potential. Staying healthy with only 17 members on the active roster will prove imperative.