The goals are still attainable.
But the uphill climb is a lot steeper.
La Vergne opens District 7-AAA play Friday night winless through two games. The preseason prediction of 5-5 or better record is still within reach, but will be much harder to accomplish.
And no one is more surprised by the slow start than La Vergne third-year coach Stanton Stevens.
“I’m shocked to be quite honest,” Stevens said “If you’ve seen our games, the first half we’ve looked like I thought we’d look. We’re as good as I thought we’d be.
“But in the second half we’ve not been able to sustain our execution.”
La Vergne hosts Oakland (1-1) at 7 p.m. Friday at Freedom Field in the district opener for both teams.
La Vergne has led at halftime of each of its first two non-conference games, but it hasn’t scored a point in the second half this season. The Wolverines led Antioch 12-0 in Week 0 at intermission, but fell 20-12. La Vergne led 12-6 at halftime in Week 1 to Wilson Central only to lose 26-12.
“We haven’t executed well in the second half in any game,” Stevens said. “That includes blocking, tackling, our defensive scheme. No one is doing anything different. We’re not doing as good of a job in assignment football.
“We did a good job in the first half in both games. But you play four quarters for a reason. You can’t play two and think it’s over.”
Oakland football coach Thomas McDaniel said he can see on film that the Wolverines have been very successful in the first half of games. It just hasn’t carried over to the second half.
“I think right now they are pretty simplistic offensively,” McDaniel said. “They are trying to be physical at the point of attack. They have done a good job at the line of scrimmage and with playaction in both games. They’ve been very aggressive on defense.
“They have had some trouble in the second half. I’m not sure if that is depth, fatigue or what. They have been very good in the first half. We’ll have to play well early.”
La Vergne opened the 2011 season with wins over both Antioch and Wilson Central, but finished 3-7.
That third win came in an upset of eventual Class 3A state champion CAK in Week 9, which was sandwiched between two competitive district losses to Siegel and Blackman. With the bulk of the Wolverines’ skilled players returning, many believed La Vergne was ready to take the next step.
However, that step hasn’t yet been made.
“Some say it’s our conditioning,” Stevens said. “But we’d be running extensively if it were that simple. We definitely had conditioning problems up front against Antioch. But I still don’t think it should have been that bad, but it was. “But that wasn’t the thing with Wilson Central. They were not out manning us.
“We just didn’t get it done.”
But Stevens isn’t ready to say the team’s goals aren’t still within reach.
“If we want to go where we want to go we have to knock off some people that maybe people didn’t think we could knock off,” Stevens said. “For a half of football, we’re pretty good.”