ELMORE — The Woodmore football team had 12 good reasons to dislike Mondays. Twelve straight times the Wildcats had to endure the start of a new week following a loss the previous Friday night.
High school is hard enough without having to see the sideways smirks and the whispered jokes about last week’s lopsided defeat.
So not only did the Wildcats snap their losing streak back in Week 2 but, following last Friday’s 33-14 win over Otsego, they’ve now won two of their last three games.
And now Mondays aren’t so bad.
“It was pretty awesome,” junior receiver DJ Wellons said. “Everyone lost faith in us and after we got that win it sparked it back up. Then we got that next win against Otsego and there’s more wins to come.”
After coming out of a winless season in 2014, any and every win feels good. That first win, coming against Toledo Christian, set the foundation for future victories because it laid The Streak to rest.
The Wildcats are no longer the team just trying not to lose. Now they’re just a team looking for another win Friday night.
“That first win was just breaking a barrier,” senior quarterback Connor Bringman said. “The first win was exciting in itself, but after that we were able to just play football. And that’s what we’re focused on. Every game we can go out and focus as hard as we need to and play as hard as we need to without the pressure of ‘Can we get that first win?’ Now it’s just ‘let’s go out and win’ every game.”
Confidence is higher than it’s ever been under second-year coach Brian Spicer. But the well-traveled coach knows plenty of work remains before Woodmore turns into a consistent winner.
Although the Wildcats are 2-2 as they prepare to travel to rival Genoa (1-3) at 7 p.m. Friday, Spicer wants his team to play more like it did in its victories and less like the team that expected to lose in its defeats to Port Clinton (63-0 in Week 1) and Swanton (51-8 in Week 3).
“What we’ll be hammering this week is ‘Guys, why can’t it be like that every time? Why can’t it be like that?’” Spicer said. “The answer is it can be. There is no excuse at this point. We can go out and play hard for four quarters. That has nothing to do with the other team. Until our kids totally buy into that process, we might still experience our ups and downs.”
In a way, the building of consistency is a good problem for the Wildcats to have. It’s good because it’s a new problem for the program, a common problem for many programs. It’s a problem that doesn’t come attached with a number that grows with each defeat like a double-digit losing streak.
Even if another win eludes Woodmore for the rest of the season, 2-8 looks an awful lot better than 0-10. It’s a validation that progress is being made and the program is making strides. Two wins also provides vindication for a team and a group of players who have heard more than their shares of taunts and teases.
“Coming off a season like we did last year and having such a hard time, nobody expected anything,” Bringman said. “The only people who expected success from us were the people in the locker room and around the team. I think now that we’re starting to have a little bit (of success), we’re starting to get more and more support and the more we get the better we’ll be the rest of the year and the years to come.”
Whatever success the Wildcats enjoy this season and beyond will be able to be traced back to those early-season victories over Toledo Christian and Otsego. And the experience of a happy Monday.