The last two weeks on Renwick Street are another case study in the common belief that winning fixes all.
After the program collected two wins in 2013 and 2014 combined, the Carroll Bulldogs already have two wins this season, beating Rayville 21-20 and Booker T. Washington 32-30 in the last two weeks, giving the program its first two-game winning streak since the first two games of the 2011 season.
The Bulldogs carry that winning streak to Neville this Friday.
“The kids are upbeat, the student body is upbeat. It’s a totally different campus,” Carroll head coach Jackie Hamilton said. “You can see it in how the kids respond to everything.
“The kids are more receptive to what you tell them. They don’t mind the extra film time, they don’t mind the extra running. Right now, everything has a purpose, and that’s good for the kids and that’s good for the staff. It makes it easy to get your point over.”
Offensively, the Bulldogs have already scored 81 points, compared to 96 points in 2014 and 92 points in 2013.
“Our strength is our running game. Our offensive line came back in tact, and that’s always big when you have your offensive line in tact,” Hamilton said.
Fantoryian Pendleton is the feature running back, with help from Charles Smith, and Hamilton added Odirrius Sellers and his, “live arm,” help the Bulldogs maintain the threat of the aerial attack.
The defense’s trajectory mirrors that of the offense, as the Bulldogs allowed and 35.6 points per game in 2014, but allow just 23.3 points per game so far this season while learning Mike Collins’ defense.
“I’m like the guys, I’m still adapting to it,” Hamilton said. “But, it’s been good for us. I think the more comfortable with it, the better we’ll be able to execute it.
“Anytime you can hold a team like Rayville to 20 points, with the offensive firepower they have on that side of the ball, that’s speaks volumes for you. Last week against Booker T. Washington, really, they gave up 14 points. The kickoff team gave up a kickoff return to the 2-yard-line. They’re been playing pretty good on the defensive side of the ball.”
The most positive sign for Hamilton is that most of the prominent players will be back for 2016 and some of them for 2017.
“I started 12 freshmen last year and all those guys came back,” Hamilton said. “They knew what it felt like to lose, and this year they’re getting a taste of what it feels like to win. They know the effort and commitment that goes into it if you want to be a winner. I think they’ve done a great job of committing themselves in the spring, through the summer to now.
“We’re seeing some of the fruits of our labor.”
Follow Brett on Twitter, @BHudsonTNS.