For the Fairmont Senior High football team, the best is yet to come.

Although many may still be reeling from last week’s 40-24 loss to the Bluefield High Beavers, there is a lot to look back on this season — the past two years — and be grateful.

Yes, it would have been historic to have appeared in the school’s record fourth state championship game. Yes, it would have been.

Now it’s time to prepare for 2020 and think about how to make history all over again.

Yes, the loss means a 26-game winning streak comes to an end, but now is the time to start a new streak.

It’s important to learn how to lose and how to recover from that loss gracefully. The agony of defeat can not hold back people of strong character. And although it’s a cliche, it is true: whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Quarterback Gage Michael ended an amazing year with numbers that probably turned heads around the state. Michael finished the season with 1,553 yards and 22 touchdowns on the ground rushing. The story from the air is different.

Michael finished the season as the No. 1 passer in the Big 10 Conference. He threw for 2,390 yards on 126 of 215 attempts for 27 touchdowns. Again, phenomenal numbers to be proud of.

And Michael was not the only Polar Bear who put up amazing numbers this season.

Cam Longwell is the Big 10’s No. 1 receiver for having 44 receptions in one season. He scored 108 points in one season.

And then, there’s Frankie Smith who plays on offense and defense, like many fellow teammates. Smith finished the season with 99 points. Not too shabby.

One of the Top 15 winningest college football coaches of all time, Lou Holtz said that mistakes are part of life and how we handle them is a test of character.

“You can tell a lot about a person’s character, not by the mistakes he has made, but by how he has handled those mistakes. The person who takes responsibility for his errors and does what he can to fix the problems he has created is someone you should respect,” Holtz said.

So, now is the time to begin developing a strategy for the next season.

Whether it be hitting the weight room, watching game film from this past season or devising new schemes on offense and defense, the future is now.

And while we acknowledge Fairmont Senior’s banner year, let’s also recognize North Marion High and East Fairmont as well from this season on the gridiron.

Like Gage Michael, Huskies quarterback Gunner Murphy captured a great deal of attention this year by throwing for 2,374 yards and 25 touchdowns. Kudos to Murphy.

And, while the Bees were nowhere near playoff contention, the coaching staff and team set a new standard, where, yes, the best is yet to come.

East Fairmont’s quarterback Dom Postlewait passed for 1,511 yards and 13 touchdowns. Again, a lot to be grateful for.

Be proud, Marion County, because the best is yet to come.

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