The Chaparral High School Firebirds have a rich football tradition, but they are not living up to their name. They are 1–2 and living in the past, Head Coach Thomas Lewis hinted.
Tradition, Coach Lewis said, can cause complacency.
“Being on the top for so long, then now getting knocked down a couple pegs and coming back out this next week, the morale is still good, still high, but there is a sense of urgency as well,” Lewis said.
Despite the slow start, there is little panic.
“I think the team morale is actually not what you expect, starting out 1–2. It’s still very upbeat for the most part,” said Lewis.
But after two blowout losses, improvements are in order.
The defense has been inconsistent but Defensive Backs Coach Airabin Justin does not expect that to continue.
“At the end of the day, I think this is a defense that will look a lot different the rest of the season,” Justin said.
The defense gave up over 40 points in each loss.
On the other side of the ball, the ‘Birds offense has sputtered. They have failed to score over 20 points in their first two games.
Lewis is confident he has identified the issue.
“One hundred percent the only problem that we are having on offense is basic execution. It’s a big problem,” Lewis said.
Despite the lack of production, Lewis believes his squad has potential.
“We are getting a lot of yards per game,” Lewis said. “We are just not finishing drives.”
When asked who makes the offense click, Lewis gave an honest answer.
“Well I mean right now, it’s got to be the quarterback,” Lewis said. “You ask him to do a lot, make a lot of different calls and a lot of different decisions and make the right checks when they present themselves.”
Senior quarterback Grayson Barry had a solid performance against Desert Mountain this past Friday. He will look to further ignite the offense this week against Williams Field.
The Firebirds will also lean on running back Marqui Johnson to build off his stellar performance last week.
With the offense seemingly back in sync, Chaparral will look to even their record at 2–2 this Friday against the Williams Field Black Hawks.
Editor’s note: Mr. Smith is a journalism student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University