HANOVER — Licking Valley was humbled by its first loss to Heath since 1990. But all is not lost for 2015.
“We need to pick it up right now, especially in practice,” senior co-captain Anthony Moran said Monday as the Panthers (2-2) prepared to get ready for a visit by winless Linden-McKinley. “If we practice well, it will translate to the field. We’re hungry now. We have to be.”
Tommy Klein is taking his role as a senior co-captain seriously.
“Some of the seniors got together, and said that we have to change the way we practice,” he said. “We have to get back to playing physical football, Valley football. That wasn’t us last week.”
Coach Randy Baughman said he would like to see more intensity and passion out of his team.
“I guess we’ll see what we’re made of,” he said. “I’ll be very disappointed if they don’t respond. It’s a good lesson, for all of us. We all face tough times in our life, a whole lot worse than losing a football game.”
Klein said Valley may not have shown it, but the Panthers are still a good team, one still capable of making the Division IV playoffs.
“We’re definitely capable of responding in a big way,” he said. “We need to show everyone what we’re capable of. I think we overlooked them (Heath) a little bit, and it’s a good learning point that we can’t overlook anyone.”
That would include 0-4 Linden-McKinley, coming off a 47-0 loss to Beechcroft.
“We have to take it game-by-game, no matter who the opponent is,” Moran said. “We have no room for error.”
Baughman said Linden-McKinley is still a dangerous team.
“They’re a typical city school, with a lot of speed,” he said. “And they’re huge up front. They don’t do anything fancy, just try to get it to their speed in the backfield.
“We have to get our offense going. It just hasn’t responded like we thought it would.”
Klein said that the Panthers know they have to win out for a return to the postseason. That will take quite a run. Valley finishes the season against Granville, Johnstown, Watkins Memorial and Licking Heights.
“We have to treat them (Linden-McKinley) like they’re 4-0 and the best team in the state,” he said. “We can’t slip up again.”
Aug. 28: @Tri-Valley 37, Licking Valley 3
Sept. 4: Licking Valley 27, @Philo 13
Sept. 11: Licking Valley 32, Bloom-Carroll 23
Sept. 18: @Heath 20, Licking Valley 3
Sept. 25: Linden-McKinley, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2: @Lakewood, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9: Granville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 16: Johnstown, 7 p.m.
Oct. 22: @Watkins Memorial, 7 p.m.
Oct. 30: Licking Heights, 7 p.m.