Hulne: Athletics are looking to stay positivePublished 6:58pm Monday, September 9, 2013
When the Lyle-Pacelli football team beat Glenville-Emmons 56-34 last Friday night, it may have just looked like another nine man game that turned into a blowout.
But if you take a closer look at the LP football program, you’ll find there’s a little more to it than that. The Athletics have 17 players on their varsity football team, but just 14 of them were in uniform for that game against the Wolverines. Due to low numbers, LP wasn’t even certain it was going to have its own football team this year until the fall rolled around and LP now has a total of two wins in a three-year stretch.
The hardest thing to do in high school sports is to inject a positive attitude when the only thing the athletes are used to is negativity. The Athletics still have a long way to go, and they look to improve every day, but Friday’s win was a major step for LP.
It may sound crazy, but LP’s season got off on the right note after it trailed Grand Meadow 33-0 at the half. The Superlarks took second in the state nine man tournament last season and LP knew they would be a tough foe, but LP head coach Reid Olson wanted his team to focus on staying healthy, gaining confidence and making sure they would be a different team when they play GM in week eight.
The Athletics showed some good signs in the second half when GM pulled out its starters and they scored 30 points in the last 24 minutes.
While it may not have changed the outcome, it gave the Athletics a positive feeling, which can do a lot.
“We gained some confidence and trust out of that,” Olson said. “We have a great attitude and we’re working hard. We need to believe in each other and trust each other.”
The Athletics (1-1 overall, 1-1 SEC) carried that positive feeling into their game against the Wolverines, who are also shorthanded this fall. This time, LP was the team that was ahead 42-14 at the break.
In the second half, the Athletics met up with what will be a constant challenge this season as their players began to cramp up and wear down from constantly being on the field.
When you’ve only got 14 players on the roster, not too many guys are going to get much of a break.
“Part of the frustration comes from our lack of depth,” Olson said. “We are going to be on the field for offense, defense, and special teams. Conditioning and hydration are important.”
Olson has always said he wants his team to compete on a week-to-week basis before he’s going to worry about his squad’s record. The Athletics will have another solid chance to compete this Friday when they head to LeRoy-Ostrander for a 7 p.m. game.
The Cardinals (1-1 overall, 1-1 SEC) lost 64-14 to GM and beat GE 46-6.
For the first time this season, the Athletics may find themselves in a game that goes down to the wire. How they respond to it will be up to them.
Hopefully they can keep that positive feeling going.
Rocky Hulne is the sports editor of The Austin Daily Herald. Follow him on twitter @RockyHulneADH.