How tough should a first game be?

It is understandable that most coaches want their preleague schedules
sufficiently challenging to prepare their teams for league
competition.

The question is how challenging should it be?

Supposedly the ideal preseason would include games that a team, at least
on paper, should win, teams that perhaps will be a toss-up, and a team
or two that will be favored, perhaps even be bigger, stronger, faster,
and will help determine how tough mentally the underdog is when faced
with adversity.

The key when scheduling is to choose that favored team carefully. Taking
on an opponent that is all three, bigger, stronger, faster, and probably
deeper in talent, can be detrimental to not only a team’s won-loss
record but also to its health – mental as well as physical.

Nothing wrong with being an underdog. Putting a team’s psyche at risk is
something else again.

St. Paul faced one of the CIF Southern Section’s toughest football
schedules a year ago. That would be expected to do the Swordsmen well
for their opener this season against Servite and teams that will follow.

As it was a year ago, St. Paul’s enrollment (a bit more than 700) will
be smaller that any of its opponents this season except St. Francis (a
bit less than 700). However, St. Paul has both boys and girls, St.
Francis has all boys.

Servite, also an all-boys school, had an enrollment in 2006 of 820,
according to the CIF-SS directory. St. Paul has fewer than 400 boys.
Servite is a solid Division I (PAC-5) football program. St. Paul is in
Division III (Western), although in terms of numbers, probably should be
no higher than Division V (Central).

On paper, Servite definitely is bigger, stronger, faster than St. Paul.
Clearly, that makes the Swordsmen an underdog.

A St. Paul victory would be considered a monumental accomplishment. A
tie would be impressive. A close defeat would be admirable. A lopsided
loss likely would be expected.

In any of those scenarios, serious injury causing the loss of one or
more key players would be critical to the program for the rest of the
season, and because the make-up of the team would be changed, it would
give rise to the question was it worth it.

Perhaps for future scheduling, just how much above a team’s level of
ability and strengths should potential opponents be considered?

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  • Hank

    I brought up this point last season. St. Paul HS despite it’s small size continues to face private and public schools with way more students. IMO, it’s St. Paul football to come out and compete against the highest levels. Sure, they can schedule Pioneer HS or Norwalk HS but is that really going to help them against St. Francis, Palmdale, or Dominguez come playoffs?

  • ANONYMOUS

    BLANKED?
    ST. PAUL GOT SPANKED!!!
    SO MUCH FOR THE TRANSFERS…

  • SS

    Nothing woring with scheduling a tough game if you think you have the athletes to compete which SP though they did thius year.

    I would like to place an add on behalf of St.Paul.

    Help Wanted: Offensive Coordinator. Must be proficient is running the spread offense and able to attract skilled athletes from the area and beyond. Must be prepared to junk the crappy 1960 offense that SP currently uses. Must be able to have a passing play that does not have a required fake handoff with the QB turning his back to the defense. Please submit applications to St. Paul High “Emergency aid office” 9235 Greenleaf Ave.

  • SS

    Nothing wrong with scheduling a tough game if you think you have the athletes to compete which the other team. SP thought they did this year.

    I would like to place an add on behalf of St.Paul.

    Help Wanted: Offensive Coordinator. Must be proficient is running the spread offense and able to attract skilled athletes from the area and beyond. Must be prepared to junk the crappy 1960 offense that SP currently uses. Must be able to have a passing play that does not have a required fake handoff with the QB turning his back to the defense. Please submit applications to St. Paul High “Emergency aid office” 9235 Greenleaf Ave.

  • luvda swordsmen

    i predict servite will win 33 to 0 in a warm up game for them

  • SPSfan

    O.K. This is a great blog for all the SP haters. At least SP trys to better their program and take a chance. Everybody who was at the game know that SP didn’t play a good game, yes they got “spanked” but we all know they themselves gave up 20 points so why don’t you guys take your great attitudes and continue to support your local schools. Good luck to all football teams. Continue to play only local teams and expect to get better.

  • blogger

    I am a football fan and I will give credit where credit is due, Servite is admirable. But I hope everyone can see that St. Paul has some ironing out to do yes too bad it was Friday night but I’m sure St. Paul will get it together. All the negitive input is comical, I’m sure this year St. Paul will be in the playoffs and then will see who is talking all this smack. SS take a long walk on a short pier, i’m sure you already have thats why your just a blogger who looks for people to fail so you can be an annoying fan.

  • Anonymous

    blogger

    Sure they will be in the playoffs. What do they have to do, win a whopping 1 of 3 league games????

  • ss

    To Blogger, Go ahead and keep your head in the sand. I like SP, always have and always will. I have donated plenty to the program, have you? NO. My point is that the St. paul football program is in denial about their current state of the football program. They are in their own universe and they need to wake up because the Servite games showed how far behind they are. Servite slaughtered them at every level. The worst part is the perception gap between how good they think they are and how good they really are. The offense is terrible and they were terrible last year. Keep denying this fact and you will never improve. Someone needs to be held accountable. 1 pass completion for 12 yards for the entire game? OK whatever you say, things are fine.

  • We Are Transfers

    coaches coach you have the tools but can you coach it. To the loud mouth DC i guess your bark is louder than your bite. 11 penalty is about right considering thats what you were practicing in the summer. St Paul Bring in a Swordmen to lead a swordmen your a step above cantwell (Can’t win) Maybe you can pound your chess when you play them.

  • All CIF

    Anonymous which ever one you are. The division in III not VII, The league is Mission not Del Rio, No other Team in the area beside Santa Fe would make the playoffs.

  • luvda swordsmen

    maybe sp should open up against appalachin state oh i mean someone like el rancho or pioneer you know like a practice game notice i didnt say santa fe because sp couldnt beat sf

  • ElRancho

    keep running your mouth…. we’ll see in a few weeks.

  • SPfan

    Hey ss, you forgot the A on your name. I’m sure you have done so much for the school, we’ve heard about all you great guys who have big mouths. Yes Servite beat St.Paul everybody saw it, thanks for such great support. People like you don’t support anything except headaches. Go St. Paul! regroup & unite, anyone who was at the game knows we lost but my godness we do know that we played unacceptable. We know you’ll have a great season.

  • johnsmith

    luvda swordsmen,

    yeah maybe SP should open up against a team like appalachian state (aka “pioneer” or “el Rancho”) because i’m pretty sure that appalachian state beat Michigan. El Rancho and Pioneer could very well do the same.

  • blogger

    Hey *ss, thanks for your input although you may think you know what your talking about its very evident that you need to wake up and smell the coffee. All your wise information doesn’t help at all. Do you think for one moment that the QB only wanted to throw for 12 yards, or do you think the coaches said were going to throw for 12 yards today? maybe we can beat Servite like that. Get your head out of the sand and do us all a favor and support another school. St. Paul didn’t show much on Friday but I wouldn’t turn my back on them just yet. So go be a hater somewhere else.

  • ss

    There is a difference between “supporting” SP, which I do, and not speaking up when there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Support should not = silence. Only those who truly care will bother to face reality and seek improvement. The Servite games did “Wake me up” and I “do smell the coffee”, and the coffee smells old and it stinks. That is why I am speaking out. SP has very good athletes the kids played very hard. The Servite kids were not better athletes than the SP kids, and they didn’t play any harder than the SP kids. So why did SP lose so badly? That is the question that needs to be answered. Calling someone who cares enough to ask that question, an $ss is not going to help. Beating Cantwell or El Rancho 35-0 means nothing if SP does’nt win league and loses again in the semi’s because they couldn’t score off a real team. May’be my expectations are to high. YOU may be satisfied raising “C” students and supporting a 2nd place league team, but I’m not. If you truly support the school then don’t stand around with your thumb in your mouth and watch the most talented SP team in 4 years underperform right in front of you and with your full consent.

  • joseph gonzalez

    what are you people talking about? please, get a grip on life. how can anyone say that st.paul will not be ready when it counts? the reason why you play tough teams is to get ready for league play.and yes, servite is a very skilled , tough , big strong opponent. but nothing that they have not seen before.dont judge on how you start but on how you finish. and for all the people that blog behind a screen name, sack up and let everyone know who you really are.lets see if you were an athlete that people will remember,or just that silly last pick as i expect. stop living through your school and start supporting the local kids that try their hardest every friday night. dont be bitter, get better!! go swordsman!!

  • anon

    Hey Joseph,

    Hate to break this to you but Friday night counted and SP was not ready. And if you knew anything about SP you would know that the Servite game was the biggest of the season. So it really doesn’t matter how you finish because from here on out you are playing a soft schedule in a soft league in a soft division. The rest of SP schedule is a combined 47-49. Only 2 teams were more than 1 game above .500. One of those was Cantwell that is in divXI. The other is Chaminade who is starting over with a new coach this year.

  • JOSEPH GONZALEZ

    hey anon,
    you know the best part? your opinion is noted! but not really heard.st.paul did’nt earn it’s reputation by playing servite. they earned them through championships.so they lost the first game of the season .big wow! if they make it to game 14 and win, whos going to remember servite?probably just you.question, were you at the game? if you were you probably feel the same way everyone else does.disappointed . st.paul did not play it’s best football. we all know this. but once again they learned valuable lessons that they will use in the next game. give the kids a chance to show that they can compete. i promise you one thing , if you write them off now, you will be sorry! good luck st.paul!

  • Anonymous

    THOUGHT I WOULD JUMP IN, I LOVE THE FACT THAT WHEN A TEAM LOSSES IT HAS TO BE THE COACH. AMAZING!!! HEY JG I AM SURE THE COACH TOLD THE QUARTER BACK TO THROW THE BALL RIGHT TO THE D-LINEMAN OR HAVE THE BALL BOUNCE OFF OF THE INTENDED RECEIVER AND GET PICKED. THESE ARE THE SAME JACK OFF’S THAT WILL BE SINGING SP PRAISES WHEN THEY ARE IN THE PLAYOFF AND WINNING.LISTEN I WAS NOT THAT IMPRESSED WITH ALOT OF THE GAME CALLING, BUT I SURE IS HECK WILL NOT THROW IN THE TOWEL THIS SOON.SHOOT SERVITE IS A RANKED TEAM AND TO BE REAL HONEST I WAS NOT THAT IMPRESSED CONSIDERING ALL THE D 1 PROSPECTS. DONT LET FAIR WEATHERED FANS CRAP YOU OUT THEY ARE PROBABLY RAIDER FANS AT THE BEGINNING AND COLTS FANS AT THE END. SOME DAY THEY WILL WAKE UP AND LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND SAY “DAMM I AM JUST ANOTHER JACK” GO SWORDSMAN THERE ARE PLENTY OF US TRUE FANS OUT THERE AND WILL SUPPORT YOU THROUGH THICK AND THIN, JUST LOOK UP IN THE STANDS AND YOU WILL US. GOOD LUCK WE LOVE OUR SCHOOL!!