Football: In the red but staying positive

Dave Talarico, Sports Editor

The Tigers football team lost their first two games but is keeping their spirits up going into the next weeks. The team has had their share of accomplishments and disappointments but everyone has a goal that they want to reach as an individual or as a team.

Over the first two games against Harry D. Jacobs High School and Plainfield South, the team has struggled to keep the opposing offense from driving down the field and managing the clock. In the Jacobs vs. West game, Jacobs had control of the ball for the first nine minutes of the first quarter and ended up scoring on that drive. That drive was helped by Tiger penalties that could have been avoided. By avoiding the penalties, the offense would have had a better chance to get onto the field sooner and give the Tiger defense a break. The Tiger’s Jon Smith started off the second half with an 81 yard kick return that brought the Tigers back within seven points of Jacobs High School. Later in the third quarter, Malcolm Allen caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Danny Dorsey and brought the Tigers within six again. But the Tigers were held there by Jacobs’ defense in the fourth quarter. The second game did not go much better than the first. Turnovers hurt the Tigers throughout the game, and they had one costly turnover that led to a touchdown in the first quarter. The team was also committing penalties that could have been avoided and that brought the teams attitude down. “The kids were excited to get the game going”, said, Head Varsity Football Coach Aubry. The team’s attitude might have dropped but did not let it show in the locker room during half time. The coaches changed their defensive and offensive slightly during halftime to try to give the Tigers a better chance going into the second half.

Although varsity has started off 0-2 this year, each game has had positives to take from it. When the Tigers played Jacobs in the home opener, we were able to see what our kick returner, Jon Smith, could do on a kick off. We were also able to see our quarterback, Danny Dorsey, and wide receiver, Malcolm Allen, could execute for a touchdown pass. The coaches also noticed the positive atmosphere throughout the team prior to the game and were impressed. In the game against Plainfield South, Matt Koran, one of West’s defensive backs, made an interception in the third quarter and got the ball back for West but the team was not able to do anything with the opportunity. “The defense was able to stop Plainfield’s offense multiple times when they had good field position and get two turnovers during the game” said Matt Koran.  Still, Coach Aubry was impressed with his second string quarterback coming off the bench and helping out the team in this game also.

The Tigers have already had many disappointments this season. The team has had many turnovers during both of their games and penalties were common occurrences. The offense has not been able to execute and score consistently in the first two games. Our defense has been able to stop the opposing teams offense on some drives but has left places open for the opposing team to capitalize on the opportunity. In both of the games, there has been a turnover converted into a touchdown by the opposing team. The turnovers can bring a team’s attitude down on their own but it is even worse when they score after getting the ball. In the last game against Plainfield South, they were able to punt the ball down within our 20 yard line. Our offense was unable to move the ball well and had to punt giving Plainfield South good field position.

At the beginning of every season, every team, every coach, and every player has goals for themselves, whether the goal is personal or team wide. The team’s main concern is to be eligible for the playoffs this year. “Everyone says they want to make the playoffs”, Coach Aubry said, “but we just have to play well and we will win games.” Although most of the team has been playing since they were little kids, the coaches believe that they need to continue to work on the fundamentals and techniques. As a coach, Coach Aubry said that he needs to keep coaching up his players until they get to the level that he wants them at.

The Tigers have had a difficult season so far but it will hopefully get better as they put all the pieces of the puzzle together. Let’s go out there and show everyone what happens when they decide to mess with the Joliet West Tigers!