Thomas More Prep-Marian’s football team might have been shutout in its opening game, but towards the end of Wednesday’s practice, it didn’t look like a defeated unit.
“Some of our senior and junior leaders certainly stepped up and made sure everybody was excited and hyped up,” TMP coach John Montgomery said. “At the end of the day, each week is a week we’ve got to learn; we’ve got to correct mistakes, and we gotta be excited about or next opportunity.”
The Monarchs enthusiastically executed its offense without a defense to worry about — celebrations included — before Montgomery ended drills with a whistle.
After addressing his team, Montgomery made a wager, and soon after, Chase Werth was the only player that didn’t seem to be enjoying himself.
It was Werth who bet Montgomery the coach couldn’t dropkick the ball through the uprights from roughly 20 yards out.
After Montgomery split the pipes, Werth paid his debt of 200 yards of bear crawls, an exercise where progress is made with both hands and feet touching the ground.
“You gotta have a little bit of fun,” Montgomery said.
TMP hopes the good times continue through Friday’s game at Ellis. Both teams will enter the game 0-1 after facing stiff competition in Week 1. The Railroaders suffered a 54-14 loss to Norton, while the Monarchs were on the losing end of a 35-0 game in Phillipsburg.
“I would say our team is hungry, and I would venture to say that Ellis is going to come out eager and ready to attack,” Montgomery said. “One of the things we learned last year is that they’re a hard-nosed group of kids.”
Ellis squeaked out a 26-21 win in Hays last season.
The key to changing the outcome is executing the game plan and assignments at a high level, according to the coach. In Phillipsburg, the occasional lapse cost the Monarchs opportunities to score or get a stop defensively.
“It wasn’t all 11 guys messing up at once, it was one or two guys, and, unfortunately, it was usually at the point of attack,” Montgomery said.
“If we correct these one or two mistakes that seem to happen consistently throughout the night, we’ve got an opportunity to really turn the table offensively.”
Defensively, the coach hopes to see a better conditioned team late in the game. After holding Phillipsburg to 14 points through three quarters, TMP allowed 21 in the final 12 minutes.
Ellis’ offense will provide a different challenge than the Panthers’ power run game, however, as Ellis coach Craig Amrein wants to mix the run and pass almost evenly.
“We’re going to see more sets, a bigger variety of sets this week, and it’s going to cause our defense to have to make sure that we’re getting aligned and we’re making sure we’re taking care of our responsibilities,” Montgomery said.