Consider the following a quiz: Which is the preferable high school football district schedule for a team trying to build a winning tradition? Games against Martin County, Sebastian River and Viera, or games against Bayside, Heritage and Palm Bay?
The Eau Gallie Commodores have inherited the former in place of the latter this season, and a perfect storm of an opportunity could be coming together for head coach Tim Powers’ team as it enters Week 2 with a 1-0 record.
The Commodores are not alone. Space Coast, Viera and Titusville find themselves in similar situations, having won their first regular season game while coming off some rough seasons. Each faces what could be described as a “winnable” game tonight.
“This (year) is our opportunity,” Powers said Thursday. “This is our time.”
For Eau Gallie, there is an added challenge, as the Vipers will be just as hungry after their quick start. Powers described the foes as “two teams that are trying to change the culture of their programs.”
The Commodores enhanced their team culture with a 47-0 win over Pine Ridge a week ago. They seem to be reaping the benefits of three tough years in which several youngsters who took over starting jobs as freshmen have taken their lumps but grown along the way.
“The big thing for us is, what we’ve been able to do over the last four years is keep kids from our community coming here,” Powers said. He expected to see the team’s record improve this season as said as much months ago despite having seniors who have won just four games in three years.
Viera came into the year as more of a mystery. As head-turning as the Commodores’ 8-0 preseason defeat of Rockledge was, the Hawks’ 34-14 win over the Raiders last week was even more of a shock to most.
“After Friday, our team has some confidence,” third-year head coach Kevin Mays said. “You could tell our guys had some confidence in them from the kickoff. Even when we had some adversity, they didn’t hang their heads. They fought back.”
Titusville is another team building some confidence after lean seasons. The Terriers had a close win, 37-29 over Cocoa Beach, and tonight they host Lake Highland Prep — 1-8 last year — in tonight’s home opener.
The line between confidence and overconfidence can be thin, however, particularly in young players. Although Satellite lost its opener, Mays did not expect to have to bring his team back to reality for tonight’s game against the Scorps.
“They beat us pretty good in the spring game,” he said. “That’ll make it easier for me.”
Powers’ opponent, the Space Coast team of head coach Jake Owens, is also riding a wave after an opening 43-26 win over Harmony. That matched last year’s one victory, but Owens said his players are focused in spite of the distraction of large crowds and accolades from classmates.
Not only does his team have distractions from fans, but it could also lose focus by preparing to seek revenge against “another team that put a thumping on us last year.” Keeping everything in perspective, he said, is part of improving.
“It’s tough. It really is,” he said. “You have to learn how to win. We definitely have a chip on our shoulders, be we’re not overconfident.”
» Heritage at Palm Bay, 7
» Bayside at Rockledge, 7
» Merritt Island at Melbourne, 7
» Space Coast at Eau Gallie, 7
» Cocoa Beach at Melbourne Central Catholic, 7
» Satellite at Viera, 7
» St. Cloud at Astronaut, 7
» Lake Highland Prep at Titusville, 7
» Agape Christian at Holy Trinity, 7
» Cocoa at East Lee County, 7
» Merritt Island Christian at Orlando Christian Prep, 7