Links Football ends tough season with high spirits

Links Football ends tough season with high spirits

By Jaiden Vyhlidal The LHS Varsity football team may have lost the first four games of the season, but that’s no reason to hang our hat on the season right? Northeast and North Platte where two very close games and were valient efforts by our Links. In fact both games came down to the final

By Jaiden Vyhlidal

The LHS Varsity football team may have lost the first four games of the season, but that’s no reason to hang our hat on the season right? Northeast and North Platte where two very close games and were valient efforts by our Links. In fact both games came down to the final few minutes only to be out done within the last few seconds. Varsity head coach Macke believes we’re losing those games because players aren’t executing the fundamentals of football. “We need to improve in a lot of areas including blocking and tackling, to be specific. We just need to get better at the basics of football.” Macke said. If you can’t play fundamentally sound, you can’t really do much in football, especially because without a solid tackling technique comes a lot of missed or broken tackles, which in turn can lead to a lot of big plays by the opposition.

Despite the losses, players have played relatively well in the past four games. Our quarterback Anthony Evans has been 20-35 in pass attempts and completions (57% completion percentage) and has 284 yards passing to go along with 2 touchdowns and interceptions apiece, as a team they’re averaging 79 passing yards a game. Senior running back Kevin Gallardo-Franklin is having a decent year with 31 carries and 63 total yards which is an average of 2 yards per carry, the team has a total of 463 yards and is averaging 3.6 yards a carry, 115.8 rushing yards a game. Jamie Davis is having quite the senior season with 7 catches (2 for touchdowns) and 169 yards, his longest catch being 61 yards, he’s averaging 42.3 receiving yards a game.

Big plays is something that Macke believes isn’t having too much of an impact on our season this year. “There were several key plays that were made, there really isn’t one that stands out that would’ve mattered had we won or lost. We seem to make mistakes when it comes to penalties, but to pinpoint one or two key plays here or there I can’t really say.” It might also help if we had a few players that would be playing above expectations or have a breakout year, but so far no one has stood out. “We have a lot of key and important players, basically everyone we put out on the field is an impact player. There’s not really one guy that’s playing above and beyond our expectations so far. We wouldn’t be 0-4 if we had someone playing like an all-state player.” Macke Said. Varsity quarterback Anthony Evans has the same outlook as Macke. “We have a lot of young players and everyone on the team has a role. Without certain players we wouldn’t be where we’re at.”

And as far as a break-out season goes, that’s lacking slightly too. “I don’t really think any player is having a break-out season at this point. I don’t want to signify any one player, that wouldn’t be fair to the other guys on and off the field.” Macke said. The fact of the matter is although they may not have any all-state players or break-out players doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a negative state either. If you look at the statistics of the games, they’re not the worst stats considering two out of the four losses were only a touchdown away from a different game.

It’s important for any football team to work together and work as a system, you can’t run a car without an engine or tires, same goes for football. If you have a quarterback that doesn’t know too much about the game or playbook, receivers that can’t catch, and running backs that don’t know how to run or hold on to the ball, then you don’t have much of a team. Macke says that “As a whole there are times where we play really, really good, but our issue is that we don’t put it together for four quarters.” I don’t know about you guys but I’m optimistic about the rest of the season and seasons to come because I think they guys will come together and start playing four quarters effectively and efficiently. “Hopefully we improve, I mean hopefully we start coming together and start playing like a team. I really hope the defense can step up and can shut some some teams down.” Said coach Macke. Anthony Evans and coach Macke have the same opinion on this topic as well, “Staying together is the most important as a team. People probably doubt us everywhere we go, so staying together is the most important.” Anthony said.

Now it’s no surprise that the chances of the Links going to the playoffs this year is slim, but honestly the team didn’t have a set goal on making it to the playoffs. “I’ve never really said anything to the team about the playoffs being the goal. Maybe someone else said that was the goal, but as the head coach I never said that that’s our goal.”

“Our goal is to get better and better each and every week and from there we’ll see where we go. I didn’t talk to them about having a certain amount of wins and losses, I talked to them about being accountable, showing up everyday, working hard, playing hard, and doing the basic fundamentals of what we ask them to do in practice and carry that over into games and then we’ll see if success happens. All I want right now is for the kids to show up and to do things the right way.” Said Macke.

So far in the season the Links have lost 35-31 to Northeast, 28-21 to North Platte, 41-0 to Millard North, and 49-14 to Papillion LaVista South, as I said before, two of those four losses were very close and the two other losses I can only base off of fundamentals and not playing the basics soundly. I believe if the Varsity football team cleans up their play and start playing like a unit then the last stretch of their schedule are very winnable games.

“Finishing the whole game is what we need. We’ve let two leads go in the fourth quarter so we definitely need to finish, along with our offense and defense both playing four quarters,” Evans said.

Greg Keller

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