Sunday, April 20, 2014

Job not completed for Cyclone football seniors

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 10/16/2013

This Ottawa High School senior group of football players have played this season with a chip on their shoulder.

They are attempting to bring respect back to the Cyclone program. So far, it has been a success. Ottawa is 3-3 heading into Friday’s home district opener against Baldwin.

This Ottawa High School senior group of football players have played this season with a chip on their shoulder.

They are attempting to bring respect back to the Cyclone program. So far, it has been a success. Ottawa is 3-3 heading into Friday’s home district opener against Baldwin.

It will be the final home regular-season game for this group.

“You always talk about their legacy,” first-year Ottawa coach Rob Hedrick said. “What will their legacy to be? We talked a lot about that this summer with them. They have done some good things.

“They have accomplished some things that have not been done awhile. That is really not what we set out to do with them. Our goal is to make the playoffs. That is the next step.

“They have done some very positive things. Our main goal is coming up. We know we have a big task ahead of us this week and the next two weeks.”

Hedrick said the seniors have shown to be strong leaders with strong personalties.

“It is their team,” Hedrick said. “It is their team to lead how they want. They have done a nice job.

“Hopefully they finish strong. It has been a long time. It is up to them. We are looking forward to the challenge. We have to see how it plays out.”

Baldwin (6-0) is one of the strongest teams in the state. The Bulldogs have outscored their opponents 266-68 and rolled Louisburg last week.

Hedrick knows the Bulldogs are good, but is not giving in to them.

“They will contend for state title,” he said. “We will take our shots. You can’t leave anything in the bag. You have to be good enough to line up and play whoever you play.

“You can’t worry about who has done this. You have to be good enough on a weekly basis to play whoever you are facing. If not, you need to get there. You need to get better. There is no excuses. Either you do or don’t. If you want to get to where you want to get, you have to beat the people you play.”

A good example of playing each game with the correct mindset came last year with St. James. The Thunder entered district play undefeated and was rolling opponents, similar to Baldwin this season. Their district opener was against Spring Hill,  a team Ottawa beat last year.

Spring Hill beat the Thunder, who also lost to De Soto and did not make the playoffs.

“Go play and see what happens,” Hedrick said. “That is why you play the games. You can’t have a weak mentality. You can’t have fear or doubt.

“Each one is do or die. We can’t overlook anybody. We are not at that point. You have to prepare well every week. You have to perform well every week. It is part of the challenge.”

Hedrick said it was good to enter the district with a win over Spring Hill.

“It was refreshing,” he said.

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