As members of the Truman High School football team walked to their first practice Monday afternoon – following the Patriots’ first win in more than two years – the mood was upbeat and positive.

The Patriots got off to a great start last Friday in St. Joseph, where they routed St. Joseph Central 40-9, wiping away some of the bad taste that remained from last year’s 0-10 campaign and this year’s 0-3 start.

Truman ran out to a 21-0 lead and led 27-9 at halftime for the Suburban Large Seven win.

“It felt so good to win,” said Truman quarterback Carter Brown, who completed 5 of 11 passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns. “It’s been a long time since we won a game, and it just felt so good.”

Center Aaron Porter, who has verbally committed to Ball State University, agreed with his teammate.

“The great thing about the game was that the passing game and running game fed off each other because they were both successful, and the offense and defense fed off each other, too,” Porter said.

Carter said that the field position was key to the fast start.

“We scored those 21 points early in the game because our defense did such a great job stopping them,” Carter said. “We had the ball in great field position, and every time we needed a pass play or run play we got it done. It was like we wanted to reward our defense for their great game.”

Myylan Townsend started the Truman offensive juggernaut with a 5-yard, first-quarter score.

“We scored real quick and the line was great – everything was great,” Townsend said. “It just felt so good to win.”

Perhaps no one on the field in St. Joseph enjoyed the win more than coach Charlie Pugh, who is working with his staff to bring a football culture to Truman.

“It was great to get that winning feeling back,” Pugh said. “A win on the road is great, but anytime you can win and end a long losing streak it’s great. It was such a big confidence boost for our guys. Now we need to keep it going.”

Truman improved to 1-3 overall and 1-3 in the conference as it prepares for one of the biggest games of the season – the Wagon Wheel Trophy contest with longtime Noland Road rival William Chrisman.

The game is set for 7 p.m. Friday at Truman.

“That game is going to be huge,” Carter said. “It’s for bragging rights in Independence. They have the Wagon Wheel Trophy over in their trophy case, and we’re going to work so hard to this week to get it back in our trophy case.”

The 0-4 Bears hold a slim 25-23 lead in the all-time series.

And while the game is important, the theme for the night might take precedence as it will be Together We Defeat Childhood Cancer night.

This is the Patriots’ third home game in September, and that theme has resonated during each of those matchups.

While Pugh was an assistant coach at Liberty North High School, a fellow coach had a son who was battling cancer.

“That youngster is now five years cancer free,” Pugh said. “I believe the game of football can be a microcosm of life. While the game is big – one of the biggest games of the year for each team and certainly the biggest game in Independence Friday night – we can bring an awareness of childhood cancer to everyone who attends the game Friday.”

T-shirts will be for sale at the game with proceeds going to Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a national charity that raises funds for families dealing with childhood cancer.