BIG HORN — During last week’s annihilation of Lusk, a referee paused for a moment and asked Big Horn High School head football coach Kirk McLaughlin a simple question.
“Are you bored?” the official asked.
The question, while funny, wasn’t without merit. The Rams were in the midst of another lopsided victory, featuring a running clock and plenty of reps for junior varsity players.
McLaughlin cordially, yet firmly, answered.
“Heck no,” McLaughlin answered.
McLaughlin isn’t bored. He views each and every week as a new challenge, but he did admit that while he doesn’t think his players are bored, they are fighting their own battles, even when the scoreboard indicates anything but a battle.
“We were experiencing, maybe a little bit of complacency,” McLaughlin said. “… You get in that grind and you wear down mentally and physically. We just needed to refocus, talk about what our goals are and if we are meeting them and taking the necessary steps to meet those goals.
“We’d kind of fallen off track a little bit.”
It’s hard to believe that a scoring margin north of 37 points and an offense that has scored less than 40 points just once this season could be off track, but the Rams were. However, since that little internal blip, Big Horn is back on track, and ready to host Southeast in its regular-season finale Friday at 5 p.m.
Big Horn, technically, has nothing to play for Friday. The Rams locked up the conference crown in the victory over Lusk, assuring themselves home playoff games all the way through the semifinals.
But even with nothing at stake, it’s business as usual for Big Horn.
“We still want to win,” McLaughlin said. “It’s a football game. You get a limited amount of opportunities to go in and play the game. I know the kids don’t think of it this way, but when I look back, when I was a kid, the time flies, and then you wish you could be playing the game, and then it’s gone. We have to go out and we have to focus on getting better, executing the way we want to. We want to be a better football team than we were a week ago. That’s a big focus of ours, and we still want to go out and play football and play football the right way.”
The Cyclones are still searching for their first win and have only accumulated 58 points all season — the Rams tallied 49 last week, and their starters didn’t play the fourth quarter.
Even though Big Horn is guaranteed at least one more home game, Friday will mark senior night for a large and accomplished group. The senior class — the ones that have participated on varsity since they were freshman — has amassed 33 wins against just five losses. They already have one state championship and appear as the favorite for another one this season.
The veterans honored Friday have built on Big Horn’s already impressive winning tradition and all signs point to one more decisive regular-season victory before one final playoff push.
Are the Rams the better team Friday? On paper, yes, very much so. Should the Rams win by a sizable margin? On paper, yes, quite easily. Would some teams become bored with that same tale each and every week? Probably. Are the Rams?