Chase holds heads high
Many involved with the Chase football program feel that the Trojans should still be practicing in preparation for a first round game in the state playoffs. Frankly, they may have a point, but the 2013 season is over for Chase.
However, that doesn't mean the program has nothing to be proud of.
"I told the guys not to be that disappointed and not to let not making the playoffs overshadow what we accomplished this year," Chase head coach Daniel Bailey said. "We feel the program is going in the right direction. We're back to being disappointed when we don't make the playoffs when years ago that wasn't the case because there were no expectations."
The Trojans finished with just their second winning season in the past 10 years at 6-5, 3-5 SMAC. And those six wins came in a conference that was beefed up prior to the 2013 season.
"Looking at our schedule I'd say it's one of the toughest we've had since the 80s.We could have been 8-3 as easily as we could have been 4-7," Bailey said. "To finish with a winning record is really something we can build on. There were only four schools in the conference with winning records."
Chase started the season with impressive wins over Bunker Hill and Bandys before running through the Cleveland County gauntlet that is Burns , Shelby and Crest. However, the losses that proved most costly for the Trojans came inside of Rutherford County.
"Losing the Central game with five turnovers and still just losing by a touchdown and then against East where we still we still had a chance got us," Bailey said. "If we had gotten one of them we would be sitting in the playoffs right now."
But the Trojans aren't sitting in the playoffs and it's time to start work for the 2014 season.
"You ask the kids to get better but you make sure as a coach that you get better," Bailey said. "Now we'll go back a re-evaluate everything we did in order to be better coaches when next year rolls around ... coaching is the highest of highs and the lowest of lows."
There is hope in Henrietta as the JV Trojans finished the year 8-3 and are sure to restock the varsity cupboards with talents.
"We'll be young next year but the ability is there," Bailey said. "Not making the playoffs is sure to fuel some of the younger guys for the 2014 season."
Sophomore running back D'Andre Kelly and junior quarterback head the list of players set to star for the Trojans next season along with a group of skill players from the JV level.
"We're real excited about the number of skill kids we have," Bailey said. But we have to get better on the offensive line since nearly the whole line is graduating.
It doesn't mater how many skill kids you have if you can't block for them. The kids we have coming up will need to get where they need to be so they can match the skill athletes we have."
And as Bailey expects, expectations will be high next season for the Trojans.
"We left it all out there this season and missed the playoffs but here's nothing we can do about it," Bailey said. "We need to finish now."