Friday, November 26, 1999
Football all revved up for a winning season
This summer, three times a week dozens of football players would jump the fence onto the field to run together, play together, and prepare to win together. We met Coach Kerr as a well-conditioned, cohesive team with great expectations. Our preseason and scrimmages flew by as we performed favorably against Duxbury, Watertown and Maynard.
Our first game against Lexington was a mental challenge for the team: "Could we perform well on game day?" We answered by getting pumped up to the point of virtual insanity. Numerous mistakes, fumbles, offsides and the like, made it clear that our heads weren't in the game, which ended up as a 6—6 tie, saved by a shoestring tackle and a solid defensive stance. The loss in the Weston game was much of the same, but against a better team. I hate to say that we made them look better than they are.
Throughout the season we heard about the great Acton-Boxborough team that beat the best team in the state during preseason. When it came our time to face them in our first Dual County League. (DCL) game, we made changes and were just starting to get the ball rolling. We were mentally ready and tenacious, but our new organization gave us problems that we were not ready for. I know that while I was playing at defensive end, our defense sometimes called for me to line up inside and pinch in, even though a sweep went around my end. After the game, we would accept the loss, but as our team developed later in the season, we began to realize that we did have a chance at them, and we could have ended up in the super bowl!
At this point the coach gave us a new plan for the team. We were going to forget what we couldn't change, and win the remaining season. Every subsequent game was going to be a good fight, and consistent improvement could bring us to the top of the league, with a 7—1 record and the best DCL record in CC football for a long time.
It started with Wayland, and our simple, show-up-and-perform attitude, which thoroughly beat our first contender. Newton South was hardly competition although they had been touted as a challenge. Westford was tough, but still vulnerable to our offense and shut down by our defense. Lawrence was a struggling team when they came to us and became our chance to show our home field a solid win. For me, that game was great fun because I made several tackles over ten yards behind the line of scrimmage.
Lincoln-Sudbury, one of the dominating forces of DCL football for the last 20 years, was to be our next contender. Quickly it became apparent that this game was more important to us than any other of the season. A win would set us up for a second place finish, and a loss would relegate us to a mere chance at a mediocre third. In one of the most exciting games a Concord-Carlisle crowd has seen, the Patriots emerged victorious above the L—S menace, a feat that hasn't happened on the L—S field since 1978.
The Boston Latin game was way too close for me, but it was a win, nonetheless. With our league record at 5—1, we locked up second place and were well-represented at the league meeting with 5 All-League players (including myself).
The Bedford game has meant a lot to the team ever since the Bedford players showed up at our first game to taunt us. Needless to say, they have shown a complete lack of class and sportsmanship. The Thanksgiving Day game should be an emotional game, a fight for pride and respect.
This year's team was a great boon to the program. We have seen improvement and strength at all levels, and, oh yes, did I mention that the Junior Varsity team is undefeated?
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito