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FHS open 2009 season with ‘expectation to win’ over Shields

“An expectation to win” is the main focus for the Florala Wildcats as they open their season with J.F. Shields on Friday night.

The Wildcats will travel to Beatrice for the opener.

At their jamboree game last Friday night, Florala took a 35-0 loss to Class 2A New Brockton.

Gooden said adjustments have been made this week to get ready for J.F. Shields.

“We played a real strong team last week — that’s not an excuse or anything like that,” he said. “We came back this week with a different attitude and we definitely worked on the conditioning side of it to be in better shape going into Friday.

“We know that J.F. Shields is going to be very athletic so we feel like if we’re going to be in better shape and more disciplined than they are, then that’s going to give us more of a chance to win on Friday night.”

Gooden said the loss last week came down to fundamentals.

“We gave up three big plays that they scored on,” he said. “They got up 35-0 at the half and one positive thing you can look at is that we didn’t give up another touchdown in the second half. Our offense looked good at times.

“They were a little nervous and probably a little anxious, excited and scared — a little bit of everything,” he said. “Hopefully, playing the preseason game, we can work some of those things out and we’ll see the areas we need to improve.”

This week at practice, Gooden said he has treated each day as if it was a “quarter” in the game on Friday night.

“We’ve talked about Monday being the first quarter of the game and Tuesday is the second quarter and (Wednesday) is the third quarter and (today) is the fourth quarter on how we come out in practice,” Gooden said. “Each one of those days is how we’re going to play Friday night. We had a real good first quarter, but the second quarter (Tuesday) was a little difficult for us and I look forward to coming out to practice (today) and be ready to go on Friday.”

In order for his team to be successful, they must tackle and block better and play more fundamentally sound football, Gooden said.

The Wildcats will have to play without the help of starting fullback and linebacker Hunter Oswald this week. Gooden said he injured his back during a preseason practice.

Jonathan Miller, who was also injured, is a “probable” on starting this week.

On what this first win could mean for the rest of the season, Gooden said it would be a big “boost” to their program.

“I’ll tell you it would really boost our program and would really boost our morale and attitude, and it’s very important,” he said. “I know everybody across the state wants to win the first game and start on a good note. I just feel like it would be a shot in the arm for our program, if we can get this first win. I don’t care if it’s 2-0 or 14-13, we’re going to take it whether it’s pretty or ugly. We just need the win.”

Kick off in Beatrice is at 7 p.m.