This week marks the one-year anniversary of the last time Hillcrest lost a football game.
In Week 6 of 2014, the Hillcrest Rams were defeated on the road, 24-23, by the Westside Rams, who will play at Hillcrest’s Chandler Stadium on Friday night.
It was the only loss last season for Hillcrest, which went on to win the Class AAAA Division I state championship.
This year, both teams are 5-0 and 1-0 in Region 1, the latter much more important to Hillcrest than avenging last year’s defeat.
“We don’t even talk about (revenge),” Hillcrest coach Greg Porter said. “We just worry about one game at a time. The game speaks for itself, so it’s something I don’t have to remind the kids about. My goal as a coach is just to make sure my team is prepared to play and be ready for whatever this team is going to present to us.
“But we don’t preach that revenge stuff. It doesn’t work when you do that anyway. You place unfair stress on the kids and the coaching staff when you do that.”
The loss was important, Porter said, but that was because it served as a wakeup call.
“That one game was the turning point in our season,” he said. “We recognized some of the things that we were doing wrong. Our preparation was maybe too relaxed, and we realized that we have to bring our ‘A’ game.”
Third-ranked Hillcrest will have to be on top of its game against sixth-ranked Westside, which has an offense that features junior quarterback Jackson Williamson and senior running back Quinn Wright.
“This is the first team that we’re going against that has a complete package,” Porter said. “They have an excellent running game, and they have an awesome passing game.”
Porter said he liked the way his team battled J.L. Mann in Week 3, holding on for a 21-14 win.
He liked the way his team fought past traditional power Greenwood this past week, winning 27-7 on the road.
“The Greenwood game was a tough game,” Porter said. “The J.L. Mann game was a tough game. When we were in that situation, we handled the stress of that whole game very well. It wasn’t about trying to score 50 or 60 points. The goal was about winning the game.
“Right now I think our team is learning how to handle success. We still have some things to work on, but as a coaching staff we’re proud of them. They’re doing the things that we didn’t do last year to get ready for each game.”