22-game losing streak.
The two-plus year winless drought hangs over the Waynesfield-Goshen football team but that has not diminished the enthusiasm and optimism from second-year head coach Shane Wireman who expects to end the winless skid this season.
Wireman said it was a big learning curve for him last year in his first year as the head coach.
“Last year was a lot about building relationship with those players and know that I know my guys so it is more about working on those X’s and O’s this year,” Wireman said. “It was kind of nice to get that year under our belt and get settled in.”
Wireman added that compared to last year, the team is leaps and bounds ahead of last year’s schedule.
One reason for optimism is the 27 players who came out to play this year. Last year, Wireman had around 16 and 17 which makes for a lot of issues and an 0-10 season.
“We our enthused about the numbers we have this year and we have 10 seniors and last year we had only four so we have a little more experience and a little more size.”
While the numbers are out, keeping the players coming out and playing the whole season is a daily battle for Wireman and his coaching staff. After all few people want to be part of a team that has accumulated a losing streak that enters its third season.
Wireman said he preaches to the team that it is up to them to end the losing streak and nobody is going to hand it to them.
“We are on a pretty good losing streak and there is no secret to it,” Wireman said. “You have to go out and take it from the other team and they are hungry and want to end the streak and get that positive feeling early and get confidence and go from there. It can make or break a season so we want to get an early win.”
Wireman added they are hoping to pick up an early win to help set the tone for the season.
Waynesfield-Goshen will be looking to run the ball on offense and Wireman said he is getting the right personnel in place.
The offense, which managed 85 points last year, will be primarily relying on the run to move the ball down the field.
“We want to control the football and move the chains,” Wireman said. “You know the old saying `three, four yards and a cloud of smoke.’ We are going to back to old school and we have some good size up front and some good guys in the backfield so we are going to take our shot.”
Wireman said he is excited about his running backs. Seniors Dustin Klenke and Tyler Eller will be doing the bulk of the work from the backfield. Even though Wireman is going to lean heavily on these two, the Tiger head coach said the additional numbers this year give him depth at the skill position players.
“I feel just as good about my second guys as I do my first guys,” Wireman said. “We have a really solid backfield.”
However, those guys are going to need holes to run throw and again Wireman is confident this year’s line can get the job done due to the depth. Unlike last year where if one lineman went down then it took a lot of shuffling across the board. However, with some players who had not played in a couple of years return to add extra bodies to fill the holes.
Defensively, Wireman said the Tigers will bring the same aggressive approach that he prefers with multiple fronts and blitzes.
“We are going to come after you,” Wireman said. “We are not afraid to play man or zone. We are going to mix it up. We are really preaching turnovers. Win the turnover battle.”