TIGERS RIGHTING THE SHIP: Red Level’s record doesn’t tell the whole story

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Just glancing at Red Level’s 0-10 record might give one the impression that the Tigers are on a sinking ship, but a look inside the program tells a different story.

“I knew when I took the job that is was going to be tough,” first-year head coach Kenny Skipper said. “We knew that the numbers were going to be down, and how it was going to be with the amount of young kids that we would have to play.”

At times during the season, the Tigers had up to nine players on the field that were in eighth or ninth grade.

“There were things that we struggled with as a young team,” Skipper said. “At times, turnovers really got us. The biggest thing for us was that the kids found something every week to improve. It was a night and day difference watching the young guys play in week 10 compared to week one.”

Skipper said what impressed him and gives him a strong hope in the future was his players’ abilities to continue to fight through the struggles.

“I think the way they kids continued to work each week says a lot about their character,” Skipper said. “We had a lot of young team struggles, but they continued to come in each week ready to go to work. From the outside looking in, it’s easy to just see that 0-10 record and think we aren’t improving, but that’s not what we are measuring our success on. Right now, our kids realize that it’s not about the wins and losses. With the shape our program was in, it’s more about how we play the game, and we are going to play the game the right way.”

There were a number of players that Skipper said stepped up as leaders at different times of the season.

“At times, our seniors Cale Mancill and Johnnie Coxwell stepped up as leaders,” Skipper said. “There were also some of our juniors that stepped up as leaders for us. Ethan Edson, Jonathan Short and Joel Phillips all played crucial roles on the team. Phillips played defensive end for the second half of the season and he is a secondary guy. We had to play him out of position, and he really isn’t built to be a defensive end. A lot of kids would have said that they couldn’t do it, but he stepped up and did a pretty good job.”

Despite not winning a game, Skipper said the season was a success and a positive step in the right direction.

“The biggest thing coming in was that we knew we had to get back in the weight room,” Skipper said. “We had a great summer in the weight room and that continued into the season. We are going to be on a 12-month workout schedule and not just for three months. We are going to get back to running a program the we it should be run. One day we will get back to judging a season on wins and losses, but right now we’re building this program from scratch. It’s going to take a lot of hard work in the offseason, but these kids have shown they want to get better and have what it takes to improve. We took a turn in the right direction this year and this week we are getting right back in the weight room. The wins and losses will eventually take care of themselves.”