Second Half Attitude
Despite getting off to a fast start and jumping ahead of Newport 14-0, we allowed them to creep back into the game by halftime. We made adjustments, which were primarily mental, at halftime and then we emerged into the second half as an inspired team. It would have been easy for us to continue to hang our heads in the face of adversity, but our young men dug their heels in the ground and put the game away. By the end of the third quarter they could see a dejected opponent lining up across the line of scrimmage from them and our young men did what they needed to do to put the game out of reach. Seeing the true excitement that our defensive squad had play after play was contagious. Every play that resulted in a huge hit or little to no gain for our opponent just kept on feeding our fire.
Special Teams Play
This was by far the best effort on the season from our special teams units. The coaching staff challenged our special teams in practice last week to take their performance to the next level. Our kickoff coverage was outstanding and made a substantial difference in the field position battle. Our PAT/FG unit was perfect on the night and continues to impress. I can't overstate the importance of having a solid kicking game as we enter into the stretch of our season where games could easily be decided by special teams. We have devoted a ton of time in practice to improving this area and it certainly showed on Friday. Kyle Rees was a standout on our special teams units and continues to impress me with the speed and fearlessness of his play.
Our defense continues to create opportunities for our offense and Friday was no different. Two interceptions by Kevin LaCoste and a fumble recovery gave our offense great opportunities to get back on the field and put points on the board. We continue to be in the plus column of the turnover ratio category. This important statistical category is vital to our continued success.
We continue to chew up yardage on the ground at an alarming rate. Our primary offensive goal is to establish a running game and Friday was no different. Led by Calvin Pollard's 159 yards, Kevin LaCoste's 70 yards on two carries, and Kyver Hamilton's 65 yards we amassed over 350 yards on the ground for the third time this season. If we can continue to pound away at teams and wear them down we should keep rolling along.
Unfortunately this blog doesn't have a "see the good in the bad" section so The Bad will have to do. I say this because rarely, if ever, will you have a coach that says "thank goodness we finally gave up some points." It was, however, sort of a relief for me to get that monkey off our back. It was a potential distraction I was worried about carrying into the regular season. I was worried about a collapse in mental focus the first time a team put some points on the board. I think that worry was confirmed to an extent on Friday night. It would have been great to run the table this season without giving up a single point, but as I told our team all week it really isn't feasible over the course of an entire season. Our focus can now turn to playing loose and relaxed as opposed to uptight worrying about when those points were going to go on the board.
Despite winning the turnover battle on the night, dumping the ball on the ground twice led to Newport feeling as though they had a chance to get back into the game. We can't continue to get teams down and breathe life into them by giving them the ball.
As proud as I was of our kids second half resiliency, I was equally disappointed with the complacency exhibited in the first half. Being scored on for the first time, turning the ball over, and going up a quick 14 points led to a loss of focus and intensity. Opposing teams are not going to simply lie down because they face our offensive unit scoring early or often. We need to be prepared to face very emotional and disciplined teams every game from here on out, making our games exponentially more difficult. If we don't put the pedal down and stay mentally sharp for 48 minutes in every contest we will not achieve the goals we have set out for ourselves.
An extra bit of Good being done to face the Ugly
As you know, a big part of playing football in the Seaside program is our credo: Making of Champions. The three tenets in MOC are Men of Character, Commitment and Class. We are taking those three tenets out into the larger community with our 2nd Annual Fundraiser in an event called B4B/Mammograms in Action. On October 12, 2013 we will open the SHS Ironworks for our players and community members to participate in the CrossFit workout Grace (30 clean and jerks for time). Our team and community members who complete the workout and/or who donate will be helping women and men who are unable to get a potentially life-saving mammogram due to being uninsured or underinsured and/or under the age of 40. Early detection saves lives…and with the help of Mammograms in Action every $80 raised will provide that critical diagnostic test. Please help us by either making a donation (visit our Facebook page or our Seaside Football--MOC fundraising page directly for more information) or you can plan to join us to complete the workout with an entry fee donation of $20. We look forward to honoring and remembering those we know who were affected by breast cancer and by providing as many free mammograms as possible. Help us live MOC!