The Duncan Banner

November 7, 2013

Indians travel for season finale

John McKelvey
The Duncan Banner

COMANCHE — With the possibility of making the playoffs gone, Comanche turns its focus to a road game versus Hinton on Friday.

It’s not all doom and gloom south of Duncan, though. The roster littered with youngsters to start the season has transformed into a collection of experienced athletes with a year under their belt.

“We’ve had a lot of young kids that have played for us all year long,” coach Steve Justus said before Wednesday’s practice. “We didn’t necessarily play young kids in front of older kids for that reason or anything.”

While Hinton (3-6, 0-5) hasn’t won as much as last week’s opponent, Frederick, and neither team has a chance at the playoffs, Justus still wants to win. Against Frederick (5-5, 4-2), he had to adjust his lineup according to the opposing team’s speed.

“At times you just have a different key that fits a different lock,” Justus said. “When it became a real racehorse deal from side to side, we put some smaller kids in there that moved laterally much better. I thought those younger kids did a really good job for us.”

Justus was proud of his older kids for realizing the coaching staff was doing all it could to win the game, and that it was not directed at the individual players. He said it showed a lot of maturity.

The 18-12 loss against Frederick was the final thread in a string of four consecutive losses. Justus felt his seniors handled the disappointment of being locked out of the postseason well.

“Their feelings were hurt, very down in the sense that when we went into the game we felt like we had a chance to win,” Justus said. “When something’s that close, it hurts.”

One senior, quarterback Hunter Rice, returned from an injury in the game. His comeback meant that sophomore Alex Hinshaw, who Justus said had performed admirably in Rice’s absence, would not be starting. With Rice gone next year, that will change. Jutsus said he wants to see some more improvement from Hinshaw, especially in the passing game.

“He has grown this year,” Justus said. “His strengths are he runs the ball a little better than he throws it. It’s one of those deals in the offseason we hope we work that the other way of trying to get that to where he’s as good of a thrower as he is a runner.”