The Early Lead: Patience is always a virtue for Ram fans
By BRANDON HURLEY
Rome wasn’t built in a day. I’m sure we’ve all heard that wonderful cliche by now.
And certainly, it’s no easy task to turn around a football program, one that relies on a significant amount of underclassmen.
Yes, Greene County is 0-2 on the season and yes, they did get blown out by a supremely talented, and gigantic Harlan team, but growing pains will happen. That team they faced Friday, has won 13 state championships and ran off a 100-game plus win-streak at one point. The Harlan program is no slouch.
Let’s remember, we are a mere two weeks into year one of the Mitch Moore era. Things weren’t going to – and will not – always be sunshine and roses during the transition. High-scoring affairs and championships banners won’t magically appear at the snap of two fingers. The optimism was – and should remain – elevated, but expectations should be tempered, as we witnessed Friday night.
Be patient, and take the lumps with a grain of salt, if you will. This is certainly no excuse, but the schedule is tough. The Rams travel to No. 2 Dallas Center-Grimes on Friday, host fifth-ranked Webster City next week and play an undefeated Boone team, who are ranked in some polls, at the end of the month. I won’t be surprised if Harlan is ranked soon as well. More losses may be in store in the coming weeks, but a chance at a big time upset can be a huge building block for this young program.
The Rams aren’t accepting these early losses as is, either, they are hungry for more, content isn’t in their vocabulary. Coach Moore had his players back at it Saturday morning and they even watched game film at 5:45 a.m. on Labor Day, of all days. Losing is not something this program wants to continue.
Many of the greats suffered through hard times. Look at Iowa and Kirk Ferentz, for example. They won a single game in his first year, and now they are several top 10 finishes and a handful of bowl wins into a successful tenure. Alabama was in shambles before Nick Saban took over, who wants to play them now?
I compare this situation to a northwest Iowa high school, the Spirit Lake Indians. Before their current coach Josh Bolluyt arrived nearly a decade ago, the Indians were struggling to get a victory. In a similar-sized community without the luxury of a nearby city to pull kids from, he got the athletes to buy in, and one state championship and several playoff appearances later, they are a perennial power.
Strike up a conversation with coach Moore and you get a real sense of how much he hates losing and how badly he wants his kids to experience the thrill of victory. A young team like Greene County isn’t exactly built for big comebacks, it’s easy for them to get down and hang their heads. Frankly, it’s what many of them have only ever known, how can they continue to chase victory down several scores when it’s part of the norm?
Moore is driven to change that notion.
“We are going to do some things in practice, compete with a winner and a loser, so our guys can feel and understand what it takes to win,” the coach said in an interview Tuesday. “Not just play and do everything right. There has to be a point where we learn how to win and how to do that.”
If that’s not a mark of a champion and someone who wants to get better, I don’t know what you’re looking for. As many people have said before us, you must fail before you succeed. So yes, losing hurts, and losing big hurts even more, but bear with the Greene County athletes and the coaching staff and I promise you wins will come. Just be patient.
Success on the gridiron can be achieved here in Greene County. Bill Kibby did it, Frank Linduska did it. Heck, Paton-Churdan has a storied tradition as well. There’s a football history that can be tapped into.
Moore’s not oblivious to the rough start to the new area. But he never promised The Process to be a cakewalk, either.
“Not everybody is on our coat tails, now, saying we are going to be the greatest,” Moore said. “They are thinking ‘OK, they got beat and now they are back to their old ways.’ We have to regroup and I have all the faith in the world that my staff and our kids are going to get us back on track.”
On to the picks…
We had a four-way tie at 15-1 in week two of the Bee’s weekly football contest with Bud Johnson of Gowrie coming out on top of the tie-breaker. He chose a total score of 810, which was closest to the actual score of 747. Nic Faust of Spencer came in second with predicted score of 901 while Jerry Deluhery of Jefferson came in third with a predicted score of 907.
I went 13-4 and my season record is now at 24-9. Here’s to keeping things going in the right direction.
1. Ballard at Perry
2. Boone at Iowa Falls-Alden
3. Gilbert at Webster City
4. Greene County at Dallas Center-Grimes
5. Glenwood at Carroll
6. North Polk at Grinnell
7. Kuemper Catholic at Shenandoah
8. Southeast Valley at South Central Calhoun
9. Iowa at Iowa State
10. Cincinnati at Michigan
11. Pitt at Penn State
12. Nebraska at Oregon
13. Auburn at Clemson
14. Oklahoma at Ohio State
15. Georgia at Notre Dame
16. Stanford at USC
17. Boise State at Washington State