Tasting wins makes losing hard to swallow

Watching Tabor College football this fall was deja vu all over again.

Tabor?s football history has far more lows than highs. And while the past four to five years ranked anywhere from good to great to amazing, this year came closer to resembling the norm.

Only two years ago, Tabor won the KCAC and its first-ever NAIA playoff game. This year?s seniors have experienced the highest highs and some of the lowest lows in their collegiate career, which is far better than many Bluejay football alumni can say. Most only experienced lows.

In any case, it didn?t take long for the football program to fall from the penthouse to the outhouse. It?s funny how fast fortunes can go south, only no one wearing blue and gold is laughing.

Losing is never pretty. And it?s that much harder to swallow after experiencing some success.

I?m no expert, but it appears that having three different head coaches in three years is not a winning formula. The only thing more difficult than attaining success may be staying on top for an extended period of time with different coaching staffs.

Among other things, the Bluejays were far too generous this season. The college may abide by such biblical precepts as ?It?s far more blessed to give than to receive,? but following that practice on the football field is a sure recipe for losing, and this year?s team turned the ball over at the most inopportune times.

In spite of it all, there?s hope. Based on record alone, the Tabor football team appears hapless. But unlike some Bluejay teams with losing records, this one was competitive with opportunities to win.

It?s much too soon to say whether first-year head coach Mike Gottsch can turn the program around, but we?ll know a lot more in two or three years as he continues to recruit and put his stamp on the program.

* * *

The Hillsboro High School football team had another good season. The record could have been better as they lost at least two to three games they could have or should have won. Of course, they won some nail-biters, too, so perhaps things evened out.

The offense was outstanding, as good as or better than the 2006 team that made the final four in the state playoffs. The Trojans moved the ball on everyone they played. However, the team lacked some size and it showed on the defensive side of the ball when they seemed to wear down late in some games.

Watching quarterback Spencer Brown play was worth the price of admission. In my memory, he?s the best running quarterback HHS has had in the last 35 years or so.

Granted, it?s hard to compare eras and style of play, but he is an explosive and strong runner. He showed his competitiveness by rarely going down to the ground without a battle.

His passing was a little inconsistent, but when he was on, he was nearly impossible to defend. Even when his passing was off, he was dangerous when he scrambled out of the pocket.

I don?t know what position he?ll play if he chooses to play college football, but if I were a college coach, I?d sure want players like Brown on my team. He?s simply a winner.

* * *

As good as HHS football has been recently, it hasn?t hurt that the state changed the playoff format several years ago so the top two teams from each district advance. Without that change, the Trojans would have been on the outside looking in and wouldn?t have had the opportunity to advance in the playoffs.

The Trojans are Exhibit A demonstrating why the format change makes sense. It gives good teams a chance to make the playoffs when their district is loaded with good teams.

More from Joe Kleinsasser
How do you respond when life throws you a curve?
If you’ve handled your emotions perfectly throughout life, stop reading. Actually, if...
Read More