A Closer Look with Mark Miller: None League Play

Week 2 included a lot more non-league match-ups and after two games, we are starting to get some idea of the season our local teams may have this year. However, until we get deep into league play teams can still turn things around even if they have had a slow start.  As a wise coach told me many times, “It is not how you start but how you finish that determines your success or failure”.

We had a game on Friday, GlenOak at Massillon, that was quickly a large point differential. Massillon scored early and often in building a 49-0 lead at halftime. The Tigers always had great field position so their offensive drives were short and quick. It didn’t matter which of their fine QB’s were playing, TD passes filled the air.  At halftime, some people in the press box asked me what a coach tells his team when they are behind by such a large number of points. 

The options range from completely losing it and yelling at the players for such a poor first half performance to not talking to them at all and seeing if senior leadership can surface and the players motivate themselves to play better in the second half.  Most often the coach’s response is somewhere in the middle of those two extremes.

I have been on both sides of lopsided scores at halftime. There are challenges to being both ahead and behind – although leave no doubt, being ahead is way better!  Most coaches point out fairly calmly why things got so bad in the first half then discuss how the team can fix that in the second half.  While never dismissing the possibility of a great comeback (remember the Vikings/Colts game last fall), most coaches concentrate on winning the second half and continuing to play hard.  One of the great lessons sports teach is not giving up when things get difficult and do not go your way.  That is a lesson not taught in many other situations today, unfortunately. 

Whatever Coach Scott Garcia told his Golden Eagles in the locker room Friday night worked because his team came out in the second half and continued to play hard and did not lose their cool – there were no fights or a plethora of penalties. The score in the 2nd half was 7-7 with a continuous clock. I know there were some substitutions made but the kids on the field played very evenly the second half.  This will bode well for GlenOak in their remaining 8 games. Another thing that Eagle fans must realize, this is a VERY good Tiger football team. This will not be their only lopsided win of the season.

Everybody watching or listen to a game on a Friday night wants a close game and even though this one was not, it was still entertaining because of the big plays, good effort and great sportsmanship by the players.  Good job Tigers and Golden Eagles!