Here’s my column from Friday, in case you missed it.
The minute I laid eyes on Bishop Amat’s 2011 schedule, I knew things would be different.
Usually, it’s around this time of year that I have to write a column trying to temper the expectations of Amat fans – and some people in this office – so that they’re not totally off the Richter scale and out of touch with reality come mid-November.
Thank you, Servite, for doing my job for me.
What Amat got in Orange County last weekend was a reality check big enough in size to last an entire season.
Sure, a loss stings.
Sure, probably nobody in SoCal is beating Servite.
Sure, our Valley’s lone PAC-5 competitor knocking off the Friars would have been nice for everyone in the 626.
But truly, that isn’t what Amat, nor its fans, need right now.
There have been plenty of big regular season wins in recent years over SoCal’s best teams, but what Amat needs now is success in Week 11, 12 and maybe even 13. I’ll stop short of the hallowed Week 14 because that might be asking the world.
Believe it or not, losses like the one Amat incurred last week against Servite make that more possible.
Routing Muir does not.
This lesson was learned in spades last year. Amat played a nonleague schedule void of any games where you truly wondered about the outcome before kickoff. In layman’s terms, Amat was favored in every nonleague game last year.
The Lancers rode that wave and a weaker-than-usual Serra League to a 9-0 record. But when the two biggest games of the year came, Amat faced true adversity for the first time and wasn’t ready.
That won’t happen this year.
Amat has already had its nose broken. It doesn’t hurt as bad the second or third time it happens. This is a team that likely will be playing with a sense of its own mortality. And when that happens, teams tend to play with fear. There’s nothing better for a football team than fear.
It’s not the type of fear that means a player is scared of the guy in front of him. It’s the kind of fear that keeps you concentrating, on your toes and doing everything possible to make sure the scoreboard doesn’t start swooning against you.
No team goes into a game hoping to lose so that valuable lessons are learned. But it’s well known in football coaching lore that you learn more from a loss than you do a win.
So now it’s back to the drawing board for the Lancers. La Mirada comes calling tonight. Then Damien, Cathedral, Venice and the much-improved Serra League. With all the areas for improvement now known to coaches and the chances of a false sense of security greatly diminished, the Lancers should be a better team thanks to what happened against Servite.
It sure beats the heck out of routing Muir.
Follow me on Twitter @ChemicalAT