Monday, October 1, 2012

Canon-Mac and Bentworth on the board

You can read my high school football notebook -- now a Tuesday thing -- in tomorrow's Observer-Reporter, but I have some extra stuff on my second note that I will post here.

Friday was a special night for Canon-Mac and Bentworth's football teams, probably the Big Macs more than the Bearcats as they snapped a 20-game losing streak with a 16-13 victory over visiting Plum.

Both were winless this season. Neither is anymore.

I asked Big Macs coach Tim Sohyda whether there were any winning traditions that had to be dusted off, and he told me about the victory bell that the school's cheerleaders and members of the band ring. Sohyda joked that he wondered whether or not it still worked.

We both got a laugh out of that one, but the truth of the matter is Friday delivered a feeling Sohyda and his players want more regularly.

"We don't want winning to be a relief," Sohyda said. "We want it to be an expectation."

Later in the conversation Sohyda told me, "Hopefully the taste of winning makes us hungry for a little bit more of it."

Here, before I forget, a few other superlatives we dug up on Canon-Mac's streak:

>>Canon-Mac hasn't won a road game since defeating Trinity, 36-22, in the 2009 opener on Sept. 4.
>>The Big Macs' last conference road win was at Baldwin (53-6) on Oct. 3, 2008.

Sohyda also had some interesting comments about his two-plus seasons as a head coach ... and the two wins that have accompanied them. It's been rough, Sohyda admitted. But he's hoping the Plum win is the start of something.

"The whole experience for me personally has been very humbling," Sohyda said. "As an assistant coach, you think you know everything. Then you become a head coach. And then you find out you didn't know as much as you thought you did.

"It's been hard. There's an awful lot of work put in that no one ever sees -- by the kids, by the coaches. Year-round. It's awful nice to be able to win one, get rid of the label a little bit. Pass that losing streak on to somebody else and start over."

Bob Niziol at Bentworth is in a similar position: leading a program with low numbers, trying to generate excitement and pick up a few wins ... which the Bearcats did on Friday by topping, Vincentian, 57-28, behind five touchdowns and 263 rushing yards from Ben Carlisle.

Carlisle had three rushing touchdowns, one receiving and recovered a block punt in the end zone. Angelo Rios-Lopez, Matt McMillan and Darius Hays also scored touchdowns, and the mood at Bentworth was decidedly more upbeat.

Maybe this, too, could be the start of something positive, as the Bearcats travel to Mapletown (2-3) Friday and host Geibel (0-5) the week after that.

"I was happy to see the kids enjoying themselves," Niziol said. "We've been doing the same thing all year -- establishing things the way we believe they should be -- and seeing it all come to fruition was nice."

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