At one time or another, your favorite high school football team will go through some tough times. It has happened to the best of them, and all the teams in our coverage area have had their share of ups and downs over the last ten years. Judging by the win-loss column only tells one side of the story. What are the things to watch for to see if your team is turning the corner?
1. The Little Things: Teams trying to get better are often times lacking in talent, or transitioning to a new coaching staff or scheme. But little things like signaling in plays on time, having the proper personnel on the field, and avoiding personal foul penalties can be big important success stories as your season progresses.
2. The Freshmen: Teams struggling to win football games tend to be young. Young players aren’t as experienced, and at the high school level, often undersized. But watch the young guys play; they are the future of the program. About three years ago I remember watching a very young and inexperienced York Cougar squad who weren’t getting the wins. Three years later and York are perennial contenders, and a solid foundation was laid by young guys from years before. As the cliché goes: What’s the best thing about freshmen? They become sophomores.
3. Stick to the plan: One of the tell-tale signs of a team that consistently struggles is the absence of an “identity.” What is your team’s identity? Too often a struggling squad will frequently abandon a strategy or scheme they think has failed without working out all the kinks. Stay the course… or at least give the course a chance. And this goes for you fans too!
4. Hustle, hustle, hustle: We can’t always get more talented, or faster, or stronger. But the one thing coaches always tell you is that you can always control hustle. Does the team you are rooting for hustle, have a good attitude, and enjoy football? That may not mean championships are coming in the future – you still need talent to do that – but it should make you feel good about your team and that good things are coming in the future.
Hope you enjoyed the column and say hi if you see me at a game. See you next week! Class dismissed.