Lions Football reloads for 2012
By Matthew Williams
With the dry summer air baking the practice field, it is cool inside Concrete High School’s tiled hallways. A television from a classroom can be heard playing game film from this year’s summer camp, and the 2012 team is watching keenly—as much for inspirational purposes as for instruction.
Down the hall, in a trophy case, sits what was once the football team’s rallying cry: “We Don’t Rebuild, We Reload.” That saying can be applied to this season’s squad as well.
Gone are games where names like Howell and Clark were a focal point, and in have stepped a bevy of backs and ends who are eager to share the workload.
“Our biggest strength this season is certainly going to be depth,” said Head Coach Ron Rood. “We have more players who are game-ready—who can compete at the varsity level—than years before.”
The squad has (combined) roughly half of its starters returning on offense and defense. Rood was even anticipating having six of the starting positions filled by freshman and sophomores for their first game.
With a balanced attack and a strong influx of freshman, the Lions’ biggest obstacle this year will be their mass and bulk—or lack thereof.
“Size will be our biggest challenge this year,” said Rood. “We only have about three kids who are over 200 pounds.”
Even with their size hindrance, Rood still anticipates that his squad will be able to contend and finish in the upper half of the league. “We will be OK and compete,” he said, “putting ourselves in a position for a playoff. We need to win the games we’re supposed to win.”
With an undersized team, the Lions will be playing with a chip on their shoulder, especially after falling just short of the playoffs last year. That hadn’t happened for five years.
Back in the classroom, the film being shown was a scrimmage with Tillamook High School, a team that had thought little of the Concrete squad before facing them last summer. The Lions confronted their opponent head-on without backing down and want to take the same approach this season. The team took 19 players to camp, and the time and dedication they’ve put in during the spring and summer is showing on the practice field.
“The kids have a real good attitude,” said Rood. “They’re excited to go play other people. They’re ready to run into someone else, other than our own guys.”
The Lions’ first test was against the Ocosta Wildcats, who were considerably larger, but fewer in number. The Lions suited up roughly twice as many players: The Wildcats started with 13, and at times had to rely on only 10 players.
This war of attrition would be between the physical size of Ocosta and the sheer numbers of Concrete. The question was whether the Wildcats’ size or the Lions’ depth would wear down the other team first.
The Wildcats started with an early 13–8 lead before giving up two fumbles, which both led to Concrete touchdowns. The Lions gradually pulled away with a balanced air and ground attack to take a 32–13 lead at halftime.
Hampered by penalties and injuries, the Wildcats fell out of contention and began to look ragged. They never scored again, and the Lions went on to win 45–13.
The Lions look to continue their winning ways when they host Liberty Bell at home Sept. 7.
Published in Concrete Herald, 9.5.12