MECHANICSBURG – When fielding a football team with young kids who are working their rear ends off to improve each and every time they step on the field, there will be growing pains along the way.
But with the growing pains, there will also be gains due to the attitude and effort the kids give under difficult circumstances.
Friday night, in a 55-0 to defeat at Mechanicsburg, there were growing pains for the Buccaneers. But, there were also plenty of gains – which was recognized by Mechanicsburg coach Kurt Forrest, who respectfully talked to the Buccaneers after the game.
Obviously stressed due to the final outcome on the scoreboard, the Buccaneers met at the north end of the field after the game and Forrest came over to praise the Buccs for their effort and encouraged the kids to keep a positive attitude – because it will eventually pay off.
“You are the face of the program and the community,” Forrest told the Buccaneers. “The way you kids played and the effort you gave tonight is very admirable and if you all stick together and keep working, you will be rewarded.”
Forrest’s message to the Buccs went much deeper and was dead on accurate. It was a very classy move by a coach who has a passion for the game of football and the life lessons it provides kids.
“That was awesome for him to do that and our kids needed to hear that,” said Covington coach Austin Morgan of Forrest. “For him to say he was more proud of watching our kids play than anything else tonight, that means a lot. Our kids were little down, but after his talk there was a massive difference in how they felt about themselves.”
In regards to the game, Mechanicsburg was obviously the much more experienced team with more depth. The Indians scored on every possession of the first half to build a 49-0 lead.
But just like the game against St. Henry a week ago, there was no quit in the kids in black and white as the Buccaneers continued to play extremely hard for all four quarters.
“On the outside looking in, people will look at the score and think what they want, but these kids are playing their butts off,” Morgan said. “It’s just a matter of learning how to execute and limit mistakes. That’s where we are at right now.”
Mechanicsburg did put another score on the board in the second half, but there were so many times the Buccaneers were within inches of making big plays.
One came on the first snap of the game as Garrett Leistner burst through the line and forced a fumble by the Indians. Unfortunately for the Buccs, Mechanicsburg was able to recover the fumble and eventually drove the ball down the field for the opening score of the game.
Offensively, the Buccaneers were so close to hitting big plays in the passing game. But each time the ball sailed just inches out of reach from the receivers – not because of poor passes by quarterback DeAnthony Bennett, but because of the tight coverage by a stout Mechanicsburg defense.
Bennett, who has had limited time refining his skills at quarterback, made some great throws into tight windows to give his receivers the best chance possible to catch the ball, but the Indians’ secondary was just that good to prevent the catches from being made.
“We are headed in the right direction,” Morgan said. “There are little things we are improving on that in time will make a huge difference. It just takes time.”
Yes, regardless of the score, there were so many positives the Buccaneers can take away from the game.
But the biggest positive is the attitude and effort this young football team gave.