SIDE VIEW: Bye week offers time for rest, reflection
The 2019 homecoming game turned out pretty good. I hope everyone will agree. The final score was 48-7. Most every member of the team had an opportunity to play and see game action. Overall, it was a good night for the 2019 Mountaineers.
As this season has unfolded, the coaches have had the luxury of getting lots of playing time for many of the young men on the team. Depth is always a concern for the smaller 1-A schools and even can be a concern for schools from 2-A through the big 4-A teams. Having quality depth is essential for every team at all levels in every sport. So, the coaches have done a great job of getting the team to buy into building depth. Several young men have worked hard and grown into good players. Along the way, Mountaineer fans have seen several young men step to the forefront and become contributors.
On their second offensive possession of the game, the Mountaineers got on track and scored on five of their next six possessions. During that span, the offense played on their end of the field on all of those scoring possessions. In the second half, the Mountaineer offense continued their dominant play and had one scoring possession of 99 yards. Often overlooked, the defense has been downright dominant this year. Through the first six games of the season, the Mountaineer defense has given up only 34 points. The defense has quietly turned in solid performances in every game this year. With Western Highlands Conference play looming, the defense will be challenged every week the remainder of the season.
Certainly, the coaches, players and fans are pleasantly surprised with the 6-0 start to the 2019 season. The young men on the team this year have worked hard to get to where they are. Going back to the end of the 2018 season, the young men on the 2019 team set goals for themselves and their team. As they worked during the offseason, they set some pretty high and lofty goals. One of them was the expectation of winning games. Now, at the midpoint of the season, they have been winning games and realizing some of those goals.
The open week for the Mountaineers comes at a good time. It comes at the break between the non-conference and conference games. The open week allows the coaches to evaluate the offense, defense, special teams and every facet of the team. Coming out of those evaluations, the coaches can go back and review those areas needing extra work going into conference play and the remainder of the year. Once games begin, there isn’t a lot of spare time to teach specific techniques for each position. During the open week, the coaches can go back and spend time teaching position-specific techniques.
Entering the open week, the 2019 team is relatively healthy. Over the next week – in addition to spending time doing some other position-specific teaching – head coach Travise Pitman will allow the guys to take some time off. Practices will be shortened, and the overall week may be shortened. The open week is typically used to allow time for healing and rest, and I would expect this year will be no different. The young men on the team have been hard at work for eight weeks. I am sure they will be happy to have a little time off.
Yes, it has been a fun year so far. Hopefully, that fun will continue. Next week we will take a brief look at the Western Highlands Conference, and wow, it sure looks as though it will be tough this year. I can’t remember it being as strong as it appears to be this year in a long time.
Chris Pitman gains his views from 40 years of involvement with Mitchell High School Athletics.