It’s interesting how the start of the football season and the start of the football tourney have similarities:
* At the start of the season (and for most of it after that), a coach and a team are looking for chemistry. The questions are always being asked, “Who is best for our team in this position right now?” “Who covers this type of play well?” “Who responds to this situation with the most confidence?” and so on.
* At the start of the season, there are jitters and hiccups in the players and the plays. People jump offsides. There are mishandled snaps and hand-offs. There are slower reactions.
* At the start of the season, a team looks at opponents with fresh eyes, wondering what they might try.
Take those same comparisons and put the pressure of a “if you lose, then you’re done” mindset in the back of the player’s minds and it’s a wonder teams can play at all.
This past Friday night, against Eastern, a team our Eastbrook Panthers haven’t faced in the past couple of years at least, the coaches and players showed a poise in dealing with the above issues. Yes, there were mistakes and misreads and missed assignments but there were some key elements that made the difference.
First of all, this Panther team (along with many before it and, one would guess, many after it) was well prepared to play ITS game. Second, having played within this system for a number of years, these players were able to make the adjustments that, third, the coaches noticed and suggested. If you combine that game intelligence with the talent and passion displayed by this 2016 Eastbrook football team, it can only give you an excitement about the potential run this postseason.
This Friday, however, is more than just another game. It is more than just round two of the sectional tournament. This Friday, Eastbrook hosts Winchester, a team that, just a year ago, put an end to an incredible season. Be sure to come out to the high school on Friday night and show everyone, our players, our coaches, our opponents and their fans, that WE BELIEVE and stand with these young warriors who seek to turn last year’s end into this year’s next step.
-article by Todd Syswerda