|The Morning After The Season Before
Some Thoughts On The Inaugural 2007 Varsity Football Season....And Beyond
By Dave Schabell
It is not my intention to deliver a report card on the just completed football season. I'll leave that to the more football savy
critics out there. This is just to make a few observations and deliver an opinion or two about our just-concluded season.
The news that we were going to varsity compeition in only our second year of any type of football competition was met
with wholehearted support, and the typical Brossart athletics Can-Do enthusiasm when it was announced. Certainly the
Brossart Mustangs, champions of all things Class A in Northern Kentucky, could compete with the Ludlow, Bellevue, and
Daytons of the world at anything, and expectations were that the Stangs wouldn't miss a beat in making the transition from
JV football competition where we were somewhat successful throughout the 2006 season, in making the jump to Class A
varsity football. Even Coach Rodney Ollier exuded cautious optimism in predicting that we had the potential to hang a few
W's in the win column during our inaugural season, and hoped that we would qualify for the post-season playoffs by
notching at least one win over a district opponent. We all agreed. For better or worse we became a varsity football
What we failed to see through our rose-colored glasses was that while the present day Brossart Mustangs are indeed highly
successful at all of our athletic endeavors, each had to go through some growing pains along the way to achieve that
status. Simply wearing Brossart across the chests of our uniforms would not qualify us to compete on even terms with
programs who had been plying their trades for upwards of 90 years. These veteran football teams were made up of
football players who begot football players who had experience coming from the pee-wee, freshmen, junior varsity, and
varsity ranks. Our fledgling Mustangs were made up of boys playing football, most for the first time, and were not veteran
football players. It showed.
The first red flag went up when we traveled to Bourbon County for a pre-season scrimmage. The football Colonels had not
won a varsity football game in the past three years, yet dominated our Mustangs 50-0 on that August evening. Ensuing
scrimmages against Louisville Country Day and Christian Academy of Louisville yielded similar results.
I remember listening to our players talk about the two Louisville schools' dominant size the next day at the Nathan Seiter
Golf Outing, and began wondering if size did indeed matter. It did.
If there is a game that I would like to have on our schedule for week twelve (next week) instead of week one (when it was
played) would be the Owen County game. I'm quite confident that with the experience and maturity that the Mustangs
have accrued throughout this season, particularily as of late, that the Owen County Rebels would go down in history as our
first varsity football conquest. But reality is just that, and the Mustangs dropped a 30-6 decision to the Rebels on opening
night. Blowouts by Shawnee and Beechwood further eroded our confidence, and by the time we faced Bellevue we were
somewhat shell-shocked and expecting bad things to happen. We weren't disappointed.
The Mustangs began a turn-around of sorts on a sunny Saturday afternoon in mid-October when Eminence came to call.
The Warriors certainly don't represent the creme de la creme of high school football here in the Commonwealth, but
represented a smaller school with less experience that we could relate to - and did. The first scoreless quarter was a moral
victory of sorts and when the Mustangs went to the locker room tied at 8, it was as if the team was reborn. Even the
Dayton game had to be earned by the Greendevils and while they gobbled up yardage in huge chunks, it took them several
plays to find the endzone, as opposed to the somewhat comparable Beechwood Tigers who simply ran roughshod over the
Mustangs defense. Our passing game was much improved from the arial debacle exhibited against Ludlow just two weeks
prior. Our young quarterback Jake Heil showed some poise and professionalism in delivering passes that were now being
caught by guys wearing identical uniforms to that of his own. Sophomore Chris Bowman began to discover how to use his
size and athleticism to his best advantage and became a weapon on both sides of the ball. Our linemen began to fight back.
Brossart posted (unofficially) thirteen first-downs in the Gallatin County game - another more comparable opponent, and
began to see things starting to come together - when the clock ran out on the season.
It is not easy to go to practice every day on a team destined to not win a football game, but all forty-five roster players did.
They went to practice on the first day and they were all there on the final day of the season. That says something about
our Brossart kind of kids. The next hurdle will be to see if they all return for the sequel next season. This is no time for
defections. Thirty-four additional prospective Mustang footballers signed up as being interested in playing Brossart football
at our open house. The interest is there.
The question of whether we should have gone to varsity competition this year is a mute point. We did and we are going to
have to learn to cope with it. Hopefully, it will provide us with the motivation to advance at a more accelerated pace than if
we were still entrenched in JV competition - all warm and fuzzy about ourselves.
They say that teams are reflections of their coaches, and I'm a firm believer in that. The Olliers are princes of men - truly
nice guys with the best interest of our players at heart. They fulfill the "good cop" role which is vital in the coaching
scheme, but we probably need a couple of "bad cops" to enter into the mix to balance the equation. Too often after losses,
the attitude of the team was that "we'll get 'em next time" and there didn't seem to be any hurt, accountability, or personal
offense taken that we were soundly beaten or were once again run ruled (for lack of a better term for "running clock").
Just as success breeds success, complacency also breeds complacency. Losing and sub-par performances are always
unacceptable. Our basketball Mustangs learned that from coaches who practiced tough love and made us winners. The
football Mustangs will eventually succeed via the same formula.
If we have come away from this season with one learning, it is that experience is the best teacher, and that there is no
substitute for experienced players. Therefore our top priority needs to be the development of a junior high football
team/program comprised of those prospective Mustangs from our feeder grade schools who showed an interest in playing
Brossart football, in order to gain some valuable experience and insights in becoming football players. Otherwise, we are
always doomed to buildiing our program with first-year players - boys who are learning to play football rather than football
The message needs to be sent to present players who compete in the Red Devils program and players from our district
feeders who play on other teams outside of our immediate area that WE NEED YOU!!!!
I'm not so foolish to think that we will get the upper-crust football talent from those programs, BUT we might lure some of
the lesser lights to come and be big fish in our small pond rather than standing on the sidelines in a showcase program
watching others play. We also need to keep players with faimily ties to Brossart here at Brossart. Our coaches need to
beat down the doors of the area boosters clubs and become familiar faces, endearing themselves to the players and their
parents who have the potential to become future Mustang football players.
Lastly, we have to give our players a level playing field to compete on in the way of facilities and training aids. I've heard
over and over that we need a blocking sled. If we need a blocking sled we need to get a blocking sled and stop talking
about it. We need a practice field with a marked off gridiron and at least one goal-post in the endzone. Take a page out of
the baseball program's standard operating procedeures. They have a field with a turf infield, sprinklers, new dugouts, a
scoreboard, an indoor practice facility, new fencing and backstop. Never ever did they concern themselves with cost or
risk to accomplish any of those goals. They all managed to get paid for. People like to see results. If we are going to be
serious about football - let's get serious about football!
In closing I would like to compliment the seven seniors who have paved the way for future Mustangs who will follow in
their footsteps and the other thirty-eight players and the coaching staff who made up this historic group. I envision the
night in the not too distant future, when we will bring back the 2007 Inaugural Football Mustangs to be recognized when
those future day Mustangs will be honored for winning a Class A or AA state football chamionship themselves.
Work hard in the off-season. Take yourselves seriously. Accept nothing less than being the best that you can be. You've
got one year of varsity football under your belts. Learn from your mistakes and enhance your strengths.
Rome wasn't built in a day - Tomorow starts Day Two.
The opinions herein contained are strictly that of the author and in no way are meant to
represent the attitudes of the school or the Bishop Brossart athletic department. Opinions are
just that - opinions. Feel free to submit a response or a retort to this article via the E/Mail box at
the bottom of the page.