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Staying positive

Even though his team has played through a roller coaster of a first half of the 2009 season, Florala coach Stan Gooden said his team’s main focus right now is just “improving.”

“We’ve been up and we’ve been down,” Gooden said. “Of course we started off with a win for our first game, but we had some key injuries in that game.

“Some of our players’ injuries were so severe that their seasons were done,” he said.

From that first game, the Wildcats have suffered five straight losses to McKenzie, Brantley, Kinston, Red Level and Providence Christian.

Four of those games, McKenzie, Brantley, Kinston and Providence Christian, were region games, and two of those Florala lost 55-0.

“We’re looking at what types of positive progress we’ve made day to day, and from week to week on Friday nights,” Gooden said. “We’ve improved in some areas and there are still a lot of areas that we still need to improve on.

“But, the kids’ attitudes overall have been real good,” he said. “We’ve tried to make practice fun and we’ve been doing some things differently to try and boost morale.”

Gooden said right now, trying to get everybody “healthy” is a main goal for the team.

“If we can just get everybody healthy and everybody where they are not sick anymore, then we’ll have a full squad,” he said. “We may look at slipping up and beating somebody we’re not supposed to beat. Right now, we’re not worried about that, we’re really worried about getting better.”

Since week No. 1, Gooden said he has been impressed with the defense on his team.

“Overall, our defense has — and I know our scores hadn’t showed it — but our defense has really improved the past couple weeks,” Gooden said. “It’s just the big plays that have killed us. We’ve had some guys who weren’t playing at the beginning of the season that have stepped up.

“It makes me proud that I’ve seen we’ve made that small success,” he said. “Right now, that may be what we’ve had to look for.”

Florala isn’t willing to give up yet as the Wildcats will host Geneva County and Ariton these next two weeks and will travel to play Pleasant Home on Oct. 23.

“You never know what’s going to happen,” Gooden said. “I know we’re going to play hard. I think we have some winnable games left in the season.”