Regardless of what happens this weekend, I wanted to take a second and give Coach Davault and his staff some kudos on the job they've done this season.
How easy would it have been for this team to fall apart after an 0-2 start? The nay-sayers were starting to circle in the sky above Red Rider Stadium, just waiting for the team to start questioning each other and losing confidence in their ability, but the team pulled together and has been on a roll for the past 2 and a half months.
All the ingredients were there as hype and expectations met injuries & suspensions....and the result was an 0-2 start with Copley and state ranked Lexington coming to town. A 1-3 or even (gasp!) 0-4 start was not out of the realm of possibility. A third straight season of no playoff appearances would have been bad.
People talk about the suspensions not being harsh enough...but as someone who reviewed all of the school policy paperwork regarding issues such as this, I can honestly say that they were punished within the stated rules. Coach knew that these kids sitting out would hurt our chances, but he also knew that there are rules that everyone has to follow, superstar or 5th stringer, senior or freshman. It could have been easy to not punish these kids or stagger them so our chances to win were greater, but that would have smacked of favoritism....and I, for one, was pleased at the way it was handled. It was swift and fair.
You can say the talent on this team finally came together and the result was just us out-talenting teams, but some of this credit has to go to Coach D and his staff. They kept the kids focused all season, and got them to focus on 1 game at a time and putting all of their effort into the next challenge that lay ahead.
Those first 2 losses seem light years away as the Red Rider attempt to win the school's first regional title since 1999. A win would give the Riders 10 wins on the season (for the 2nd time in 4 years) and give Coach D a total of 33 wins in just 4 years (8+ wins per season).
Anyway, just wanted to keep this in perspective....we take these kind of playoff runs for granted (this will be our 12th regional final appearance!!), and sure, I want us to win 2 more games and take a shot at Alter or whoever else comes from Region 15 or 16 for a state title....but win or lose, this team has accomplished something that 10 weeks ago seems all too unlikely.
Keep working Riders....your goals are right in front of your nose.