St. Thomas More’s Travis Mills (13) stiff arms Groton’s Jacob Milbrandt (6) before colliding with Rayce Harder (26) Saturday night during the Class 11B semifinal football game at O’Harra Stadium.

Sean Ryan, Journal staff

I know the St. Thomas More Cavaliers aren't going to get a whole lot of sympathy from anybody when they lose ... I get it.

But I was awfully proud of the Cavs football team (just as I would be for any area team that showed well in a championship setting) and the effort it put forth in the Class 11B title game against a Parkston squad that had rolled through basically every test it had taken this season.

The haters (and there are so many that it can make your head spin) will take quite a bit of joy in seeing Wayne Sullivan at 0-6 in the DakotaDome. I get that, too.

But all I can say is that there's more to life than first-place trophies (although they are awfully nice) and Coach Sullivan does a great job of teaching his players that. He is a coach in the truest sense of the word, and while I know that this loss will eat at him just like all the others, there are few men I know who are better equipped to deal with it.

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The Cavaliers lost to a great team in Parkston and two years in a row have shown that they very much belong on the field with the Trojans. You don't always win, but the respect you earn — from your opponents, coaches, teammates and yourself — when you truly compete, is what matters.

STM might've come up short on the scoreboard again, but the Cavs still came through in my eyes.

So let the hating commence.

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