UNION CITY – Mississinawa Valley fell to the visiting Miami East Vikings football team Friday night by the score of 70-0.
It was a frustrating night on the scoreboard … but when you are building a program you don’t always measure progress by the score.
Blackhawks coach Mike Griffin’s first priority was to try and get through the heart of their schedule intact and healthy after facing Covington, Tri-County North and Miami East, teams that normally finish at the top of Cross County Conference.
Coach Griffin is looking to turn the program around, and though it’s hard for the fans and even the players to see it happening, they just need to trust the coaches, the process and keep a positive attitude while working hard.
“We came into the game tonight a bit banged up and had a number of guys on the sideline. Our goal was to be as competitive as we could be without sustaining anymore injuries,” the first-year Coach Griffin said.
“We have great kids. These are some of the best character kids I have ever coached in my life … but they don’t believe in themselves yet, and until they believe in themselves, and what we are trying to accomplish here, well, we are going to have these nights,” a frustrated Griffin said.
“They have to look inside. I can hoot and holler and rah, rah, rah all I want … but until they get ahold of this and take ownership these kind of results are what’s going to happen on Friday nights,” Griffin sadded.
Griffin didn’t want to elaborate on the game as much as he wanted to focus on the positives and the future of the team.
“We just went through the meat of our schedule. We’ll know more as the season goes along where we’ll have a chance to evaluate and see more clearly that the things we are trying to teach and run, can and will work,” Griffin said.
“Some of our younger guys are really starting to get it,” Griffin added.
“Will Hall is a football player,” Griffin said. “Only a sophomore and he has done everything we have asked of him for the last two weeks. For our scheme and what he is supposed to do defensively he has been an animal. He’s made everything hit inside tight. We just have to get our inside linebackers, defensive ends and tackles to start making plays by flowing to the ball.”
Hall would end the game with 16 tackles, 12 of them solo.
“We are playing a freshman Mason Hardwick at left guard who is coming along, sophomore Tyler Mote who is playing receiver and defensive back for us and doing a nice job, Blake Scholl playing safety due to an injury; he’s just a freshman, a smart kid, but he might weigh 130 pounds and misses some tackles. Again, we are young, playing a lot freshmen and sophomores who have been put into action sooner than normal and that’s tough … but we are playing the hand we’ve been dealt,” Griffin said.
Another young player that is a bright spot for Griffin is sophomore quarterback Trent Collins.
“Trent was a very happy surprise for us,” Griffin said. “I knew he played baseball, so on the second day of two a day practices I asked him if he ever played quarterback, and he said yes he played a little in the seventh grade. We asked him to throw some in practice, and I really liked the way he threw the football.
“Trent has a moxie about him and exhibits leadership qualities we like, and I look for big things out of him as the season goes along. Only a sophomore, so we are expecting bigger things from him over the next couple of years,” Griffin continued.
For Coach Griffin, yes the Hawks are 0-5 … but what most don’t see and what he sees are two different things.
“We are building a program and doing things the right way. it takes time. The kids need continuity, a system, and I have the energy, the coaching staff and plan to be here for a while to do just that … now the kids and the community just need to trust and believe,” Griffin concluded.
Mississinawa Valley fell to 0-5 on the year and will travel to Twin Valley South on Friday looking for that first win.