HAMBURG, N.Y. – 2013 ended with a 4-5 record for Hamburg High School football. That record doesn’t show just how close the Bulldogs came to winning some of those losses.
“Every football game we played in last year whether we won it or lost it was really a one possession ball game. That experience has got to help us. There were games where we made mistakes that hurt us that we couldn’t recover from and then there were games that we did a good job so we just need to be more consistent. Class A South every week gives you a very tough ball game,” Head Coach Pat Cauley explained.
One of those wins came against across town rival Frontier, ending a three year losing streak to the Falcons. That game just like many others came down to the wire. Coach Cauley explains what the Bulldogs need to do to in 2014 to finish close games.
“We’ve just got to play sound fundamental football. If we play sound fundamental football with the experience that we have we ought to be able to make those plays that are critical in a ball game. We’re just working on that. We’re not working on a lot but we’re working on what we believe we can do and trying to get consistent in that realm,” Coach Cauley said.
Junior wide receiver Brendan Ryan points out another factor that will help the Bulldogs in those close situations.
“One thing is conditioning, we’ve got to condition better. We’ve been doing a good job at that over the summer and just running more and getting better conditioned as a team to finish games,”
Senior defensive end/right tackle Joseph Degrood describes another element of Hamburg’s game that needs to improve.
“We’ve got to focus a lot more when we have mental periods in practice because a lot of those humps people would make mental mistakes and once you make a mental mistake you’re out of the game a little bit. I think if we all focus, really buckle down we can win some games this year and get over that hump,” Degrood said.
Overall, the team seems confident in the group returning on both sides of the ball for the upcoming season.
“We have solid defense that can lock down any offense I think. I’m pretty confident in our defense and our offense I would say is high powered because I have a lot of confidence in our quarterback, our running backs and our line,” Ryan said.
“We’ve got to stay focused. Finish for me every run, linemen finish every block, quarterback’s got to make the right reads, make the right plays,” running back Mitchell Gomolka said.
Besides just eliminating mental mistakes, there’s another recipe for success Degrood points out.
“I think as a team we have to grow, be a lot stronger together, not worry about individualism and then bottom line we have to win some games this year. It’s been a while since we’ve had a winning season and I think it’s about time we got one,” Degrood said.
For a number of Hamburg’s players, this is their last season in a purple and white uniform. Joseph Degrood is one of those seniors. He explains what he hopes his final season brings.
“I just want to have a great season that I’m going to remember for the rest of my life. That’s my main goal,” Degrood said.
Hamburg opens up the season on Friday, September 5th at Lakeshore. Kick-off is scheduled for 6:30pm.