Before I give my views on our Freshman, JV and Varsity games this week, I need to address something that happened in the stands at our JV game on Friday. Apparently, there was a parent who was not happy with the coaching, and chose to verbally assault the staff during the game. I need to emphasize how completely unacceptable this behavior is. First off, we all have roles in this program. The role of the players is to work hard during practice, and do their best to improve and help the team. The role of the coaches is to teach, encourage and push our players to reach their potential. And the role of our parents is to “cheer and volunteer,” as our Gridiron Club President likes to say. Yelling insults and criticisms at the assistant coaches during the game is not a role for our parents. If a parent is not happy with the coaching, then the proper way to handle that is to schedule a meeting with me–the Head Coach–and have that conversation privately. Second, let me defend our coaches. I have selected these men because they are men of character. They care about the kids in the program, and are great human beings. Though they are not perfect, let me remind you that they sacrifice hundreds of hours away from their wives and children to spend time developing the young men in our program. They deserve your respect, not derogatory comments. Last, screaming criticism towards the field has a negative impact on the team, as it distracts the coaches and the players–especially the young man of the screaming parent–from focusing on the game. So, let me be blunt. If you cannot attend our games to support the young men on the field by cheering, then I prefer you not attend.
For those of you who choose to attend the games to cheer for our young Broncos, I thank you, as always, for your support. It means a great deal to have that support behind us.
Now for the games.
The Freshman bounced back from a few week skid, by playing hard and coming from behind to top a solid Ramona freshman team. Although they were down at half-time, 12-7, these young Broncos kept battling, and managed to tighten up their defense by taking care of their assignments, and made some big plays on offense to move the ball, including a gutsy 4th down conversion pass. I really enjoyed watching this game, as I could see the team’s competitiveness and joy of playing come through in the second half.
The JV game was disappointing. As I have mentioned before, our staff really likes these young men, as they work hard in practice, and had a good week preparing for Ramona. But for some reason–whether it was the cold rain, or the long road trip, or just general lack of focus–we made many assignment errors in the first half; and though we eventually settled in and played hard, we could not surmount the deficit. If these young men continue to focus on the process–staying focused, doing their jobs, playing hard, supporting each other–they will be fine.
The Varsity game, despite the elements, was another positive step forward for the team. We had a rushed warm-up, it was cold and wet, and we were playing a physical Ramona team with nothing to lose. But our boys put together a solid performance, playing the full 48 minutes, and almost certainly ensured their entry into the play-offs. After the game, we were very proud of the way our young Broncos played. This morning we gave the team these grades:
PLAY HARD: B+. There were some really valiant efforts Friday night, including a bunch of players who overcame injuries to put together gutsy performances. And other than a few instances of our O-Line not playing as physically as they can, we in general played very hard and very tough. We knew this was going to be a fist-fight of a game, and were very proud of their effort.
PLAY SMART: C. I know I must sound like a broken record, but we are still making too many assignment errors–including defensive lineman not controlling their gap, defensive backs getting beaten, and offensive Lineman not stepping the right way. The frustrating thing is that these are very simple assignments that are being blown, and these mistakes are keeping us from being the great team we can be. But there were some up-sides: No turn-overs in a rain soaked game, and only 3 penalties. Those two areas continute to be an area of strength for us.
PLAY TOGETHER: A. For the second week in a row, we played like a true team, which is such a great thing to witness. I love seeing our guys support each other, hearing our guys pick each other up, and watching lots of guys contributing to the victory. Friday night was a true team effort.
We have a very important week approaching. First, it’s Poway week. Enough said about that. Second, it’s the last regular game of the season, which is also Senior Night. Third, this game is actually for the League championship. And last, it is on Thursday (at 7:30), which means we have less time to prepare for a very good opponent. I hope our boys are focused this week and are ready to have a great few days of practice.
And as always, thank you for your support of the teams. Looking forward to seeing you on Thursday!