A little more than a month ago, Robert Slocum was in a bit of a pickle.
Winless and missing two of his teams top offensive stars out because of injuries, things were looking bleak for the Mount de Sales football program.
But those players, quarterback Reed Ely and running back Alex Sands, have returned. And Mount de Sales has reeled off three GISA Region 2-AAA wins after losing all five of its non-region games, placing the Cavaliers right in the thick of the region race in the seasons final two weeks.
The guys stuck together and fought through adversity, and its paying off for them, Slocum said. Were feeling really good about our chances this week.
Mount de Sales season-ending schedule will be a challenge. The Cavaliers head over to Stratford on Friday in a game that could decide the region championship, followed by a home game against Tattnall Square to close out the season that likely will have playoff implications, as well.
A Mount de Sales win Friday would give the Cavaliers at least a share of the region title but would not wrap up the No. 1 seed. Stratford, meanwhile, can claim its first region title and No. 1 seed in 12 years with a win Friday night.
The Eagles, who defeated Tattnall 14-13 last week with the help of a blocked extra-point attempt in the games closing minutes, also have gone through some tests of character.
Playing in head coach Mark Farribas first season back at Stratford following a six-year stint at Prince Avenue Christian, the Eagles (6-2, Region 2-AAA) had a couple of difficult moments in September, losing by a touchdown to Deerfield-Windsor and by a point to current Region 1-AAA leader Westfield. But, much like Mount de Sales, the team has thrived since, winning four straight.
Any time you have a tough, close game (like the Tattnall win), there are highs and lows, Farriba said. You talk with the team about how to deal with it, but once youre in it, that changes everything. Im proud of them for staying focused, not getting to excited when things go well or too depressed when theyre not.
All three of Mount de Sales victories during its winning streak have been fairly comfortable. With Ely under center, the Cavaliers have scored 106 points in the past three games, while Sands has recorded a pair of long touchdown runs during that stretch.
Slocum said Mount de Sales offensive line has solidified, as well, following some injuries, although the Cavaliers havent totally rid themselves of those issues. Keith Farris, a key defensive player for Mount de Sales who filled in for Sands while he was out, has been knocked out for the season following a shoulder injury.
We tried to learn from some bad experiences, but now we can look at the new season (of region play) and make some good things happen, Slocum said. The team has seen a lot of negatives, and now we want to make some positives.