It’s hard to look at 2-8 positively.
But when 2-8 comes after 2-8 and 1-9 seasons, you don’t have much choice. You have to look for numbers that tell a brighter story.
Despite a new coaching staff, the varsity football team finished 2-8 for the second consecutive season. However, some, including Athletic Director Don Readance, feel the record does not accurately reflect the team’s performance.
“We played some of the top competition this year; I believe our record is deceiving,” Readance said.
This season, the Raiders played four teams ranked among the top 25 teams in Ohio, including Cleveland Heights, which was undefeated in the regular season. Shaker’s offense averaged 20 points a game, while defense gave up 26 points per game. So, on average, Shaker was within six points of every team it lost to this year.
“We have had a lot of improvement as a team because we competed in just about every game up until the end,” senior quarterback Connor Hall said.
Other signs of progress are impossible to measure.
Head coach Jarvis Gibson wants his players to positively represent Shaker student-athletes and the Shaker community, and he strongly believes that the team is improving.
“Our goal was to build a foundation, and I believe it was built,” Gibson said.
Some attitudes blocked the way, however.
“Collectively, we found that this was a team full of individuals,” Gibson said. Gibson’s goals addressed changing the “individual culture” to a “team culture.”
Junior defensive lineman Hombre Thomas agreed with Gibson. “Everyone wanted to be a superstar, and no one wanted to do what it takes to get basic things done,” Thomas said.
Gibson stressed that in order to continue improving, players must stay on task amid distraction. Some distractions occurred when several fights erupted during junior varsity games and a few players were suspended for violating the athletic code.
Readance explained that going forward, the athletic code will be strongly enforced by a binding contract, and there will be consequences for those who refuse to comply.
So, is there a bright side to 2-8?
“We still have a ways to go,” Readance said. “Many things must be evaluated from A-Z.”
A version of this article appeared in print on 21 November 2011, on page 15 of The Shakerite.