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High School Sports

December 7, 2008

V-A reloads in successful manner

VELMA — Everyone should have a down season like the Velma-Alma Comet football team.

With only two seniors and a roster of 15 players at season’s end, the Comets posted a 9-3 record and advanced to the second round of the playoffs. In making the playoffs, Velma-Alma was the only area team to reach the postseason.

“We knew it was going to be a rebuilding year but I don’t think that we used that term,” Velma-Alma head coach Greg Gothard said. “The great thing about coaching at Velma-Alma is that when the kids walk through that door, they expect to win.”

Sure, Velma-Alma’s kids expected to win, but most of them did not know how to win at the high school level. With a majority of teams made up of sophomores, the Comets went through their growing pains. After starting the season 3-0, Velma-Alma dropped consecutive games to Maysville and Ringling. The Blue Devil loss was especially harmful as the team lost Dustin Sloan for the season with a broken leg, an injury that Gothard termed devastating.

With its dobber down, Velma-Alma began to turn it around in the second half of a 38-24 win over Bray-Doyle, and went on to ring up six wins in a row before falling to Okeene in a 48-13 playoff loss.

“At one time, we were as low as I can remember being around here,” Gothard said, “from the middle school to the town. But we turned it around and accomplished about as much as we could.

“In the Bray-Doyle game, we really didn’t believe in what we were doing. At half the light came on and that was the turning point for us. From that point on, we got better.”

The Comets did what most teams hope to do, playing their best football at the end of the season. The win against Hinton in the first round proved to be the high point of the season for the team.

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