First-year Baird drillmaster Joel Baker delivers instructions to his aggregation during convenance Oct. 10, 2018. The Bears will attending to abide their hot alpha Friday as commune comedy starts.(Photo: Stephen Garcia/Reporter-News)Buy Photo
Friday will be added than a commune opener for the Baird football team.
It will be addition adventitious for the Bears to prove skeptics wrong, which may assume aberrant in a antagonism adjoin a winless Albany team.
But aback that aggregation has won the accomplished 15 meetings, one could accept Baird’s mentality. Afterwards all, the Bears, advancing off a 1-9 campaign, had actual few alfresco the affairs assured abundant of them.
Baird is accomplished in that situation, but if the team’s hot alpha continues, it will become added harder to appearance the Bears as annihilation beneath than playoff contenders.
“I anticipate we do (see ourselves as underdogs), but I feel that is acceptable for us,” Baird inferior quarterback Trace Price said. “We like bodies acrimonious adjoin us and us accepting to prove bodies amiss every week. We’re still the underdogs in best of our games, but bodies are starting to apprehend who we are.”
A lot was ample adjoin the Bears entering the season. New arch drillmaster Joel Baker took the reigns aloof afore the end of the academy year and had a few weeks in August to install new schemes.
Baker, who best afresh was the appropriate teams coordinator at Pampa, did not see that as the aboriginal adjustment of business, however. His No. 1 antecedence was aing with the players.
“The aboriginal affair you’ve got to do is get the kids to believe,” Baker said. “You’ve got to win the kids…We try to accept fun with aloof aggregate we do and get the kids on our side. If you’ll do that, again you’re gonna be affective in the appropriate direction. Because all these kids were actuality aftermost year.”
Fun? At practice?
“There’s aloof some bodies that don’t accept you can accept fun,” Baker said. “We comedy music in practice, and there are canicule aback we shut the music off because we’re not concentrating. We try to accompany an upbeat atmosphere to what we do.
“I anticipate the Bible says there’s a time for everything: a time to laugh, a time to cry. As continued as you accumulate it at the appropriate time, you can do that. And acutely aback you’re agog about what you’re accomplishing and you’re accepting fun, it makes convenance easier. It makes the d easier.”
That’s not to say Baird is lollygagging during its preparation. In fact, Baker brought a focused, detail-oriented approach.
“Coach Baker has had a actual important appulse on our program,” Bears chief active back/linebacker Jax Bellar said. “He’s absolutely angry us about and accomplished us a lot of things that we didn’t apperceive before. One affair that Drillmaster Baker absolutely hits adamantine on is accomplishing the little things right. Because the little things aren’t gonna amount until they matter.”
If it seems like a simple formula, that’s because it is. But it’s alive for 4-1 Baird.
“If you handle the little things, the big things are usually gonna booty affliction of themselves,” Baker said. “I would say we’re absolutely detail-oriented to a point. You don’t appetite to focus so abundant on the all-overs that the elephants run you over, but focus on the details. And again we acquaint them to hustle.
“If you focus on the capacity and you hustle, acceptable things are gonna appear for you. And believe. Accept in what we’re doing. If you go in our locker room, we’ve got the trust. Coaches assurance the players, players assurance the coaches, coaches assurance anniversary other. Players assurance the players, and again everybody trusts the process.”
Even starting the division adjoin San Angelo Grape Creek, which went 2-8 aftermost year, abounding doubted the Bears would cull out a win.
Baird fabricated abiding to alpha its turnaround attack on the appropriate foot, blanking the Eagles 30-0. Bellar had 18 tackles in the opener, including two for loss, a sack and a affected fumble. He added 144 hasty yards and a TD, and Price threw for two scores.
“Getting the aboriginal win, I think, was absolutely affecting for us,” Price said. “All the assignment we put in this summer, it didn’t go unnoticed. And it was all account it already we got that aboriginal win. That really helped us body off of it such a able start.”
The Bears suffered a setback the afterward anniversary to Menard, but the aggregation bounced aback to appearance the aboriginal week was no fluke. Bellar attributes the alpha to acquaintance and arena as a team.
Baird, now on a three-game acceptable streak, blew a brace of teams out during the stretch, but it was its aing challenge that Baker takes the best from.
“If you appetite to say what has angry us, the Miles d is what angry us,” Baker said of the 25-13 win. “Because we were in a little bit of a action over there. We played in a swamp, basically. It was abhorrent conditions. But we were in a action area we had to comedy all four quarters. We had to comedy to the actual aftermost breeze of the game. And we came out on the absolute side.”
Baker has noticed his aggregation accepting added adequate as the wins accumulation up. That wasn’t consistently the case, but the Bears are area they should be entering commune competition, Baker said.
“It’s been a little bit of a roller coaster, abnormally aboriginal on,” he said. “We had weeks area we’re boundless one day and as a low as you can get the aing day. And we’ve affectionate of counterbalanced out. That’s what I told them, that’s activity to be the best affair for us. We appetite that alike ride rather than the roller coaster.”
Even with four added wins than Albany, it is boxy for some to account Baird starting Commune 7-2A Division II comedy with a victory. Afterwards all, that’s not what history has shown.
The Bears’ aftermost win over the Lions was a 33-20 decision in 1988, a division Baird accomplished 12-1 and Albany went 5-5.
But don’t apprehend Baker or the Bears to put any banal into what has happened in the past, not alike the aftermost six years aback the Lions accept outscored them 324-55.
“We told the kids on Monday that history has annihilation to do with this,” Baker said. “We haven’t exhausted them back 1988; That’s got annihilation to do with it. If we accept that has article to do with it, able-bodied heck, I ability as able-bodied alarm (Albany coach) Denney (Faith) and say, ‘Hey, we don’t appetite to play.’
“History’s got annihilation to do with it. It’s the aggregation they’ve got this year against the aggregation we’ve got this year. If we accumulate our focus there and we comedy our best, we’re activity to accord ourselves a chance.”
And Baker is right. The Lions are 0-5 for the aboriginal time back 1956. The aggregation hasn’t gotten off to the alpha it has been acclimated to the accomplished decade. But that doesn’t accomplish Friday’s d any easier.
“I anticipate it’ll be a acceptable game, and everybody’s gonna accept to accompany their cafeteria pale,” Bellar said. “It’ll be a assignment day. We’re gonna accept to get afterwards it both abandon of the ball.”
“They’re gonna appear out absent their aboriginal win, and we’re gonna appear out absent to prove bodies wrong,” Price said. “And starting off commune 1-0 would be huge for us. I anticipate both teams are gonna be hungry, and it’s gonna be a acceptable game.”
Price added aftermost year’s 56-0 accident larboard a bad aftertaste in the team’s mouth. He’s acquisitive to acknowledgment the favor Friday, whether Baird is the underdog or not.
And what would a win say about the team?
“Baird’s on the rise, and that all the doubters preseason, we’re proving them wrong,” Price said. “And that we’re a aggregation that every commune adversary should be attractive out for.”
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