on October 1, 2009 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Bobcats enter region play with clean slate

SENECA — Whenever Seneca High School wins a football game, the entire team chants two sentences together.

We are Seneca. We wear Blue and Gold.

After Wednesday’s practice, head coach Ron Duncan gathered the team together and led the team in its first chant of the season.

It wasn’t to celebrate a win, because the 0-5 Bobcats are still in search of their first victory. Instead, it was to get the team prepared for when it does win, and what it could be chanting when the clock expires Friday night.

“I’ve decided it was time they learned it since we haven’t done it yet,” Duncan said. “I just wanted to teach it to them. It’s a tradition, and we’ve got a lot of it here. We’re trying to build on what we’ve got.”

Tradition or no tradition, the Bobcats have looked like a team in disarray early in the season. Beyond the overall record, the team has failed to produce offensively on any type of consistent basis, and the defense has regularly allowed big play after big play.

Yet, all of that will mean nothing when the Bobcats take the field on Friday to open Western 3A play.

In terms of making the playoffs, nothing matters except the five games played within the region. When Pickens comes to town Friday, both teams will be in the exact same position as the other in terms of postseason hopes.

“We’ve really worked hard on trying to focus that on our kids that it’s a new season, time to start over, and our goal is to win a region championship,” Duncan said. “If that unfortunately doesn’t happen, then our goal is to make the playoffs.”

Early on this week, it didn’t appear as though the team was fully aware of the opportunity that was in front of them.

Blessed with, essentially, a blank slate, the team came out on Monday and still appeared down from its fifth consecutive defeat this season.

Duncan though would not allow his team to give up just when the most important part of the schedule was rapidly approaching.

“Monday was the first time I’ve thought all year where they came out here and maybe we weren’t as focused and sharp,” Duncan said. “But we rallied and we wound up having a pretty good day on Monday, and then the rest of the week went pretty well.”

It is that type of effort that will be needed if the team wants to get the monkey off its back and into the win column. The Bobcats are getting healthier though, as quarterback Darius Earle returned last week and middle linebacker Stephen Mihaly returns this week after a four-week layoff.

Earle in particular is important based on his mobility. Pickens has an aggressive defense, and the Blue Flame will not hesitate to bring the heat and give maximum effort in an attempt to get to the quarterback.

“Pickens is very well coached, and they play extremely hard, very hard,” Duncan said. “The thing you notice on film defensively they fly around, they get after it, they stunt and they blitz. They’re going to play hard and find a way. They scratch and claw.”

While getting healthier and working hard to match Pickens’ effort are very important components for Seneca to finally come out on the positive side of the scoreboard, a large amount of the problems can be attributed solely to itself.

The Bobcats have put together very few long plays, and their lack of simple execution has been a problem on both sides of the ball.

“It’s been a struggle,” Duncan said. “We just talked about making plays. Winning teams make plays and losing teams don’t. It’s not an excuse, we’ve got to find a way to make plays. As coaches we’ve got to put ourselves in position to make plays and as players we’ve got to make them.”

For Seneca, making plays has never been more important than now. Every play is magnified, and every single misstep can directly result in a win or a loss. That type of pressure is also on Pickens (3-2) though, because as it stands now, both teams have everything to win or lose.

“Pickens is in the same boat that we’re in,” Duncan said. “We’re both zero and zero in the region and we’re both hungry for a region win.”

And although Seneca couldn’t muster a non-region win, all that could be forgiven and forgotten if the team could successfully handle their first game in a long, important region schedule.

“We’ve got a lot to fight for here these next five weeks,” Duncan said. “I believe in these kids and I love them. I think they’re going to give it up for us and Seneca High School and I think they’re going to represent our program well.”