First-year Broughton football coach Billy Lane has no complaints about the effort his players are making even though the results have been disappointing.
His Caps are 0-4 with three losses by a combined 14 points.
Our kids deserve the payoff of a victory again, they've invested themselves in our philosophy and I want them to experience the fruits of their labor, Lane said.
Senior quarterback Patrick Kearney said it has been tough to process some of the games. He is averaging 274 yards passing and has thrown nine touchdown passes, but all of the production has been in losses.
It is really strange coming off the field at times, he said. But I know I (would) rather pass for 100 yards and win than throw for 350 and lose. We are really, really close to winning.
Lane has brought in members of past Broughton teams, players from the 1966 and the 1970 state champions for example, to speak to this years club.
Kearney said the 1970 club struggled early, but kept improving.
That meant a lot to me to hear about their team, he said. They had to do the work. The guys that we have now are our team. Its up to us.
There is no cavalry coming to the rescue. Broughtons season will be what the players make it.
We are very close, Kearney said. Probably the only people who think we can turn things around are in our locker room.
The Caps are substantial underdogs on Friday against Wake Forest and will be underdogs the next week against Leesville Road. Wake Forest and Leesville were ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in The News & Observer rankings a week ago. Wake Forest is No. 1 after Leesvilles 34-21 loss last week to Panther Creek.
The Broughton program that Lane inherited was not in ruins, having posted 2-9, 5-6, 6-6, 6-6 and 6-6 during the past five years.
But Lane wanted a culture change, nevertheless. He wants to put his mark on the program.
We continue to coach culture and process every bit as much as we coach Xs and Os, Lane said. In fact, we've stressed again and again that we want to be process oriented. If you take care of the process and have a sound approach, the results will often follow.
Broughton has played well at times in its losses and could have won with a break or two. But Lanes vision doesnt include breaks or bounces.
We've made our kids understand that the blame for falling short in those three close losses can be laid on our own doorstep, he said. We've made costly mistakes, and honestly, our margin for error is so thin this year that we've not been able to overcome those mistakes (turnovers, penalties, blown assignments on defense, etc). To our kids' enduring credit, they keep coming back, time and again.
After Garner dominated Broughton 58-10, the Caps staff pulled a clip from the movie Rocky Balboa.
The players laughed at first when they recognized the film, but Lane was impressed that the room got silent as the message soaked in. Balboa, a boxer, talks to his son about how hard life can punch, how viciously life can beat you down. The key isnt how hard you can punch, but whether you keep going forward.
The parallel to our situation was obvious ... and powerful, Lane said. Keep punching, keep taking the hits, keep moving forward. It's the only way to build our program, to move our program forward. It's also a lesson that will hopefully serve our kids well beyond football.
The Friday-night game against Wake Forest looks like a mismatch, but Lane has preached all season that no game this season is about the opponent.
Wake Forest is absolutely a great opponent very talented on both side of the ball, Lane said. But the game to us has been, and continues to be, about us. Our development. Our journey. The implementation of our plan and process.