DAYTON — Ahhh, sweet victory.
After three years without a win, the Tongue River Eagles football team defeated Moorcroft 12-0 on their home turf Friday night. Coach John Scott said the taste of victory was won with good ball control, a fight to the end and fundamentals, something the team has been drilling practice in and practice out for the last several weeks.
“I think I like the resiliency we had today because Moorcroft was shooting for the same thing, you know, so whether you had two top-notch contenders or two teams that were struggling, I like the fact that we took pretty good care of the ball,” Scott said.
“We made fewer of the mistakes. We had to preserve a shut-out and fight right up to the end. It was 48 minutes and basically came down to the stretch,” Scott added. “I said, ‘You guys want to get gimmicky?’ and they said, ‘No, we got to believe in something. Let’s stay with base.’ And that was our defense. That, to them, was the first time they said those kind of words, believing in something. It’s fundamentals, and that’s how they finished it.”
The win was a definite boost to morale for a team that had lost its past 17 games, a school record, and hadn’t won at home since 2007, according to Wyoming-football.com. Their last win was against Moorcroft in 2010, the year before they were forced to forfeit the entire 2011 season due to low numbers.
“You get to a point where you keep hearing about they haven’t won on this field, and we haven’t won since 2010 or 2008; I’ve heard different dates. You try to ignore those things, but they’re out there. They’re out there every time we come on the field,” Scott said.
Brennen Kutterer scored in the first half and Lane Dockery scored, his third of the season, in the second half.
Even with those mental obstacles on the field, the Eagles played a solid game and silenced the stats Friday.
“This helps, without a doubt, to come out here and to know now what it is, the taste of victory is. It’s healthy,” Scott said.
As the team looks to its next games, the competition is still a bit overwhelming, Scott said. But Friday’s win gave the team “a little giddyup in its gitalong” and they’re ready to take the excitement that comes with winning and put it into practice and, hopefully, future wins on the field.
“I’m just really happy for these kids. It’s been a long time coming. We don’t have to describe the feeling anymore of what a win feels like, and what a payday finally feels like after you’ve put a lot of time and things into it. You can only describe it so much, but now they can feel it firsthand, and hopefully it will lead us to some other positive things,” Scott said.
But for now?
“I’m just letting them smile — because they are.”