Finally! Eagles end 20-game losing streak with victory over SMC
TRYON—There’s a little different swagger visible in the hallways at Brady High School this week.
It’s the kind of confident walk that Eagle football players haven’t had for the past three years.
Brady snapped a 20-game losing streak in style on Thursday, outscoring Stapleton/McPherson County (SMC) 58-42.“Our seniors have experienced every one of those losses,” said coach Darren Tobey, who has also been on the coaching staff since the last win in September 2006. “The kids are excited and I’m happy for them but we can’t be satisfied with just one.”
Brady started out in the hole, allowing SMC to score a pair of touchdowns before the Eagles got on the board with 4:52 to play in the first half.
At halftime, Brady trailed the Cyclones 22-16.
“We struggled a little bit offensively in the first quarter,” Tobey said. “Then we changed our blocking pattern and started sealing the middle linebacker. After that, we were able to get big play after big play.”
SMC scored right away after the half putting the Eagles down 28-16 but Brady never let up.
“I can’t put my finger on why but all of a sudden there wasn’t any sign of that ‘poor me’ attitude,” Tobey said. “These are some tough kids and they really wanted to win.”
Brady closed the gap to 28-24 with nine minutes to play in the third before SMC struck again to go up 34-24.
The Eagles managed one more touchdown to head into the final period down 34-30.
“They’re catching on to what we’re trying to teach them,” Tobey said of new offensive plays and defensive strategies. “And they’re finding it really does work.”
Once Brady managed a lead in the fourth period, they were driven to earn the victory, Tobey said. The Eagles outscored SMC 28-8 in the final period.
Junior Brad Ward led the way for the Eagles earning 263 yards on 24 carries with seven touchdowns.
Ward’s effort ties him for the most touchdowns scored in one game in school history and Tobey said he was just 20 yards from the school rushing record as well.
“Brad is a solid player,” Tobey said, “but we have to give some credit to the offensive line. They did a great job of blocking and once Brad got around that second wave, he was gone almost every time.”
The Eagles will attempt to keep the winning ways alive this week as they host Callaway in their homecoming game.
Callaway will bring a physical style of football, Tobey said, but with the right mindset, he believes the Eagles can handle it.
“These kids have expectations on their shoulders now that they’ve not carried before,” the coach said. “If we work hard, stay mentally focused and keep from hurting ourselves with turnovers, we’ll be OK. Winning breeds winning and hopefully we’re on the way up.”