Riding The Wave: Surging Titans seek playoff spot after recent wins


Ella Ashby

Titans take the field to face Weddington

Matthew Lee, Sports Writer

For those who have not kept up with the football team, the 0-4 start to the season might have seemed impossible to overcome, but after reeling off two wins in its last three games, a sudden resurgence has primed the team for an outside chance at a playoff spot. They now have a 2-5 record with three games remaining, all of which are crucial to the chances of making the 4A state playoffs.
“I think the next three to four weeks will give us an insight to figure what’s going on and where we’re set. Every game right now is a must win game, and you gotta take it week by week, but every one is a big one,” head coach Adrian Snow said.
The team knew that their potential was much higher than their record suggested, in part because of the difficult strength of schedule they had faced in their first four games. The first four teams they played currently have a combined record of 26-3 this season.
“At the beginning of the season, we were all in disbelief because we were 0-4, but we knew where we wanted to be and where we were going,” junior linebacker Caleb David said.
Both players and coaches also noted how the first four games put the team in a difficult hole, but a decisive win over Parkland on Sept. 23 helped them start showing more signs of life offensively and defensively.
“After the first few games, I feel like we lost some of our confidence. After the Parkland game, we got it back, and we had a swagger to us that wasn’t there during the beginning of the season,” senior safety Will Hayes said.
The offense broke out with the first win against Parkland, spurring their recent momentum. The offense scored 52 points in the first half, and the defense shut down Parkland’s offense entirely, winning in a 58-0 blowout.
“We are starting to play with a lot of confidence. Scoring 58 on Parkland opened our offense’s eyes and made us realize that we just have to put all the pieces together and be a well-oiled machine,” junior tight end Hayden Magaha said.
With their confidence improved, the team fought in another difficult game, this time against Glenn on Sept. 29. A strong start through the first three quarters led them to establish a 28-7 lead, and although Glenn would score two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the team held on for a convincing 28-21 win.
Much of this team’s success started with changes in practice, where they were able to make offensive and defensive improvements necessary to turn those losses into future wins.
“Offensively, we’ve changed a lot from the first game. We are executing more and are moving the ball play by play. Defensively, we’ve brought energy to practice to help sharpen our offense,” junior linebacker Davion Eldridge said.
With a two game win streak and all momentum on their side, the team traveled to Reagan for a third win in a row on Oct. 7. After leading at halftime 25-21, the team looked to close the game out, but after being outscored 21-7 in the third and fourth quarters, they faced a 42-32 deficit. A kickoff return touchdown brought the score to 42-39 in the fourth quarter, but with time not on their side and Reagan having the ball, the team ultimately lost the game. However, this loss did not deter them.
The team knew that the community and brotherhood they had was a huge factor that would help push them to the success they were focused on. The slow start to the season and a hard loss to Reagan could have caused them to create a chaotic, divided locker room dynamic; instead, this difficult stretch has only brought this team closer.
“The locker room dynamic hasn’t changed. We still are as close as we’ve been since the summer; win or lose, we still got each other’s back. We don’t turn on each other, and that’s something I really respect about this team and something that makes me proud to play for these guys every week, for sure,” senior wide receiver Kian Bailey said.
Not only have these changes in work ethic come from within, but the coaches have also contributed to the improvements made in work ethic and confidence, which has led to crucial wins over Parkland and Glenn.
“A confident team is a good team. When you’re playing well, it makes you feel well and you play better. Nobody wants to work hard and lose; you wanna work hard and win, so that’s kinda helped out. The kids have played hard, worked real hard, and so we’ll see what happens,” Snow said.
This team has proven that they are better than their record suggests, and the efforts in the recent games have reflected that. The team has three games left, two home games against Davie on Oct. 14 and Reynolds on Oct. 21 and one away game against East Forsyth on Oct. 28. The road ahead is an uphill battle, but this team is peaking at the right time and the resilience shown has a playoff spot certainly within reach.