Lima Senior head coach Andre Griffin cannot stress this enough when talking about the Spartans as they head into week three to face Christian of Faith Academy (COFA) in Columbus after beginning the year with an 0-2 record.
The Spartans have been outscored 82-19 in its first two contest.
“We had growth last week,” Griffin said. “We just have had some mistakes that we couldn’t overcome. It is the same thing I said the first week is that we are not good enough to overcome these mistakes.”
Even after losing to Piqua 26-6, Griffin said he saw progress on both sides of the ball.
One major obstacle preventing Lima Senior from reaching its full potential is penalties. The Spartans have been flagged 16 for 174 yards in their two games this year. Against Piqua, Lima Senior was hit for seven penalties.
“Our schedule is one of the toughest in the area and haven’t been able to overcome penalties,” Griffin said.
Offensively, the Spartans have struggled to points on the board. The Spartan offense has scored two offensive touchdowns this year. Wallace, who is behind the center for the first time, is adapting to life at the varsity level and learning how to make snap decisions.
In the first two games, the Spartans have generated 333 total yards.
“When we are on track we move the ball and so we just have to keep doing that ,” Griffin said who has made some small changes to the offensive line as well as helping Wallace in his quarterback duties.
“We just have to keep getting better,” Griffin said. “He is a first-year starter and he has to keep getting better. He has gotten better in the pocket and his scrambling has gotten better and he has to get better in the roll out but he is doing a good job in the pocket and better than we thought he would do in the pocket.”
As for the offense as a whole, Griffin said the key is to “just finish” and score touchdowns.
“I believe our skilled guys are still some of the best in the area and we have to get them the ball,” Griffin said.
Like the offense, Griffin said the defense has also shown progress but there is still room for improvement.
Griffin added that he has to work on giving some of his defensive players some rest. At halftime against Piqua, the Spartans had held the Indians to 13 points, however, 13 more points followed in the second half.
“I thought defensively we played really well,” Griffin said. “Really they scored six points early in the second half and one late score on a long drive. We have to keep our kids rested and ready to go on the fourth quarter and that is on me.”
While Griffin is not ready to make whole sale changes, after all it is two games into the season, the Spartan head coach said changes will be made in the practice and preparation.
“Obviously we always make changes and not necessarily personnel,” Griffin said. “It is something people. We make changes in places we need to improve and see what is best that our kids are doing and try to work that out in practice Monday through Thursday. That is how you get better. You can’t give up on kids. We have to realize this is not Ohio State. This is not the Cleveland Browns. These are kids and they are young and we knew they were young coming into the season so we have to keep working with them and developing them. That is what coaching is all about.”
Griffin admits that no one likes losing but the players remain committed towards improvement and understanding the bigger picture as well as evaluate themselves and be self-motivated both in practice and on the field.
Griffin is optimistic his team can continue to show improvement and will get their opportunity against Christian of Faith Academy out of Columbus who are playing its inaugural season. Because it is their first year, it has been a rough three weeks for the Ironmen who have been outscored 122-26 with losses to Clarkson Football North out of Canada, North Allegheny out of Pennsylvania and perennial powerhouse Wayne out of Huber Heights.
Despite COFA’s 0-3 start, Griffin said they cannot overlook them or anybody at this point as they brace for the always brutal Three Rivers Athletic Conference schedule.
“They have a very good vision of the what they want to do,” Griffin said. “They have started off slow. We have a tough schedule but they have a crazy schedule. They have to become an identity.”