LUXEMBURG, Wis. (NBC 26) — Four years ago, Neil Seering wasn't sure Luxemburg-Casco's coaching job was for him.
"I was going to walk away," he admitted Tuesday, just two days before he'll head to Madison to take his team to its first ever state football championship game.
Prior to the pandemic-shortened season in 2020, the Spartans found themselves in between head coaches.
In that time of need they turned to Seering, a longtime assistant.
"The coaches and the kids believed - after a couple of meetings - I could do it," Seering said. "There was a lot of doubt with everything going on in the world, and I think (that year) really brought us together."
"I'm just thankful that I had the opportunity to do it," a teary-eyed Seering said Tuesday.
Star quarterback Max Ronsman was a freshman at the time.
"We weren't quite sure who was going to take over the position," Ronsman said. "When he stepped in, I was like 'Oh this is going to be great... this is going to be a fun four years.'"
Over that time, Seering has taught his players on vital lesson.
"Believing," Ronsman said. "Sticking with your team. The 'Brotherhood of Belief' is a big thing in our team and it's just brought us a long way."
"Believe in what you're doing," fellow senior Trace Schoenebeck echoed. "You're going to have doubters and people aren't always going to think you're going to win... (But) if you believe, it can be done."
That mantra has helped propel the Spartans to back-to-back upset wins.
In Level 3, the Spartans lost a fourth-quarter lead but came back to beat Two Rivers 24-21 when Ronsman hit Schoenebeck for the go-ahead touchdown.
Last week, they took down powerhouse Catholic Memorial, which had been to state championships in six of the last seven seasons. That game followed a similar script: the Spartans saw a late lead slip away, only to rally back for the victory. Schoenebeck hit the game-winning field goal in the final seconds.
The Spartans feed off that underdog, backs-against-the-wall mentality.
"We're a yellow bus team," Seering said. "We're not taking a coach bus. That's just who we are.
"Last week our trophy was broke before we got it," he added, noting that the logo fell off the plaque before it was presented to the team. "I thought that was great because that just symbolizes everything about our team. And we don't care about that. We just care about each other."
This week they are underdogs again, taking on an undefeated Lodi team that has won every game by double digits.
No matter what happens Thursday night in Madison, Seering is encouraging the Spartans to enjoy the ride.
"I never thought in a million years that we'd be here talking with you guys (the media) and having this team go to state," Seering said. "(I'm) thankful and grateful for that opportunity to lead these kids."
Thursday's title game is scheduled to kick off at 7:00 p.m. LC's conference rival Wrightstown is also heading to state. The Tigers will take on La Crosse Aquinas Thursday at 4:00 p.m.