Photo compliments of Gulf Coast News Today.
By Daniel Hunt, Sports Editor
It would be tough to find someone more impressed with the way that Foley played against MGM last Friday than me. When a team wins 44-7, not much needs to be said about the performance of the winning team. But for playing for the first time at home this year, an enormous statement was made to the thousands that filled Ivan Jones Stadium that night. The 2014-15 Lions aren’t going to be an easy out.
Home games are different. The preparation is a completely different process. The fact that most of the community has eyes somewhere in the crowd is not only rattling for coaches, but it has a lasting effect on the players. Every move is scrutinized. In turn, it was Foley who needed to impress. And they did.
As I mentioned on the Lion Pride News, the offense thrived off a balanced attack. As we see so often in the NFL, balanced offenses are the key to complete success. I was impressed with the poise that the Lions had as they marched down field so often, completing each trip with excellent goal line scoring plays. No particular player tried to force anything. The offense took what the defense gave them, and it just so happened to give them 44 points.
When an offense actually does put up that many points, the pressure shifts to the other side of the ball. Luckily, the Lion’s defense didn’t really miss a beat. After talking to some of the defensive players after the game, most showed disappointment that they allowed MGM to score at all.
The confidence in the players seemed to shift to every corner of the game. As I also shared with the school on Friday, the special teams unit was spectacular. When the Lion offense had the occasional 3 and out, the punt team made sure the ball was no where close to the goal line.
In punt coverage schemes, the Lions were able to get in the opposing kickers face just about every time. As a result, the Vikings were only able to get 20-30 yard punts each trip out. Anytime that a team is pressured that much on special teams, the outcome is going to be ugly. Overall the Lion’s dominance simply couldn’t be stopped by MGM.
In a community where high school football is a cherished relic, Foley impressed. Any coach would tell you how important it was to come out at home and dominate. These statement games show us exactly how deep and impressive our football team can be and will be. The question is, can it last?
I haven’t seen any evidence showing that it won’t. In fact, each game has been in an improvement apart from the slight slip against Fairhope. Growing up with most of these players, it’s been a hard adjustment for me to watch them all take on such critical team roles. It’s hard not be biased. Although there are still adjustments to be made, I can honestly tell people to expect big things from this team this year.
Consistency is key. If the little things are done correctly and the performance against MGM can be repeated against other teams then there is virtually no way to lose. Expectations are even higher than normal.
Let’s see how far this team can go.