Adversity can come in many different forms.
For the Pilot Point Bearcats, inexperience and lack of depth help explain two straight losses.
In Pilot Point’s first two games against Krum and Muenster, the Bearcats were competitive in the first quarter.
After that, they were outscored 51-6.
“We’re playing about 15 people, and that’s hard,” head coach Rob Best said. “We’ve never had that before.
“We’ve been a two-platoon team for years, and we just don’t have the numbers right now,” he said.
On average, Pilot Point has carried about 16 seniors every year. This year, there are 11 on the roster.
After Monday’s practice, Best and his staff spoke to their players about the adversity the program is facing.
Booster Club president Nick Gochis and members Steve Kenney and Brian Holman served hamburgers,
chips and Gatorades before the players filed into the locker room and sat in chairs and tables arranged in a
square, with Best standing in the middle.
Best asked his players to say what they’ve taken away or experienced from their first two games of the season.
“I came from a school with a 16-game losing streak,” transfer Tyler Scott said. “I experienced that whenever something bad happened in a game, my teammates would have their heads down. We can’t have that here.”
Senior Zachariah Devereaux said studying film is vital. And during the game, he said, it’s important to stay positive when bad plays happen and focus on the next play.
Assistant coach Fancy Johnson said he doesn’t want to hear any excuses about lack of depth.
“We just need to get tough,” Johnson said. “I don’t want to hear any excuses about being tired. We got to get tougher mentally and physically. We’ve got to be focused when we’re tired.”
“You don’t get good at this game until you see it and trust it,” assistant coach Daryl Hellman said, addressing the team’s inexperience. “We’re not there yet, but we’re getting there.”
Defensive coordinator Tim McFadden said the Bearcats need to be more steady and confident in what they’re doing.
“Mental focus is important, even if you’re a backup,” he said. “Get work in with our mind, even if our body isn’t doing it.”
McFadden, who served in the United States Air Force before and after 9/11, brought a 550-cord about 7 inches long to show his players.
The 550-cord is what attaches the parachutes to the back of the pilots and has a minimum breaking strength of 550 pounds. McFadden cut the cord, and then cut one of the cords open to reveal the individual strings inside.
“When you pull back the casing, it’s just made of individual strings,” McFadden said. “As individuals, we have nothing; all we are is little strings.
“But you wrap it in what we are — our creed, our motto, trust, respect and family — then you have strength.”
McFadden cut the other cord and then used a lighter to heat up the end, closing up the cut.
“Heat will seal this thing back up and it’ll be as strong as ever,” he said. “We’re going to face heat during the season. You know there’s adversity we’re facing now. You know that outside influences are trying to cut us apart.
“The heat, the friction of what we’re going through, the adversity that we meet every day in practice holds us together. T-R-F — trust, respect and family make us strong.
“The only thing that can tear us apart is if inside, our strings, which represent each and every one of you, are weak. If you break on the inside, fray on the inside or give up on the inside, we’re done. We have to wrap ourselves around each other, around that T-R-F, otherwise we’ll fray.”
McFadden said all the team’s goals are still out there, and beating Aubrey is one of them. The Bearcats will host Aubrey Friday night.
“You can go back and look at our goal sheets as coaches for the last three years,” McFadden said. “Every year, beating Aubrey is on those sheets.”
Joshua Okeke covers sports for The Post-Signal.