Following Marshall’s 35-8 victory to seal up its third-straight district championship, Mavericks head coach Jake Griedl discussed the win with the Marshall News Messenger.
■ MNM: How much more satisfying did it make the win knowing it helped you seal up the outright district championship?
JG: Yeah it was awesome. These kids deserve it. They’ve worked their tails off. They circled the wagons about six weeks ago and left the chatter that they were hearing outside of that circle and believed in each other, believed in this coaching staff and this program and last night was a loud exclamation point.
■ MNN: How crazy is it that you’ve only got one game left in the regular season?
JG: They say when you’re having fun, time flies. The fun is in the winning and we’ve been winning these last six weeks. You want to slow it down and enjoy it with these kids but at the same time, you want to keep moving forward and see what goals we can reach this season. It’s crazy that next week is week 11 and then after that it’s playoffs. We’ve just got to make sure we get better and enjoy the time we have together.
■ MNM: What adjustments, if any, did you make last night?
JG: Last night we wanted to pound the rock. We wanted to make a statement and run the ball against their defense and then on the defensive side of things, we wanted to stop the run. Before I think they ran for over 300 yards and that quarterback is a really good player. So the emphasis was to stop the quarterback, stop their run game, keep our defense off the field and use the clock and run the ball. Our kids did an outstanding job doing that.
■ MNM: Overall, from an Xs and Os standpoint, what were you most pleased with?
JG: I think just our execution on both sides of the ball. To hold a high-powered offense to no points until three minutes left in the game or whatever it was when we gave them the safety and then the touchdown, I thought that was outstanding. Also our receivers executed so well and gave great effort and I thought that was really huge.
■ MNM: Who would you say is your player of the week?
JG: I’ve got to give our player of the week this week to Lyrik Rawls, D.D. Williams, Hayden Kelehan and Jarrett Phillips, those four wide receivers may not be in the headlines the last few weeks just in the receiving game and some of those guys might not be getting touches in the running game but those four guys are creating massive perimeter runs for us with their effort in blocking. That is a selfless act on the football field and because of that, our running backs’ and our quarterbacks’ running game have been tremendous.
■ MNM: What area would you say improved the most from last week?
JG: I would say our mindset. Right now, I think we’re a really good football team and we’ve got another week to become great and then the playoffs is when great football teams become elite and that’s when we can start building that program’s mentality. I think last night, we took a huge step and we felt like if we handled our business, we’d have success and with being up 21-0 at half, I think in the past, there were times where we kind of relaxed but last night we kept our foot on the throat and we’re really pleased with how we played in the second half and finished the game.
■ MNM: What would you say is the biggest thing you need to improve on between now and next game?
JG: Pine Tree is a really good football team. They’ve had a ton of success on offense. I know last night the week before may not indicate that but I know Kerry Lane is going to have those guys ready to go against us. Pine Tree always plays us tough. We’ve got to make sure we move past this one and we finish the regular season the right way. We’ve got to come out playing well and execute and keep that momentum going into the playoffs. Again, we’re taking one week at a time and we’ve got to find a way to go 1-0 against Pine Tree.
■ MNM: What’s your rule about how long you have to celebrate the wins and get over the losses?
JG: Yeah, it’s 9 a.m. treatments and 10 a.m. is our Saturday morning weight workout and then film afterwards. When the kids walk through those doors, we’re going to get after them. We’re going to get a good weight workout in and by the time they leave here at 11, I expected us to be moved on and focused on the next week.
■ MNM: What have you heard about Carter Adamas, their running back who got hurt in the second half?
JG: I haven’t heard. I’m going to give coach (Marcus) Gold a call this afternoon and see what the update is on him. I talked to him after the game and from what it looked like, it was a neck-spine thing. I don’t know how series it was. I think they were just being super cautious with it but I’m going to talk with coach Gold and check up on that kid.
■ MNM: How did y’all come out health-wise?
JG: We’re healthy. We have some knick-knack bruises and what not but those kids are in treatment this morning and we’ll by firing on all cylinders moving forward.
■ MNM: You mentioned Pine Tree next week and that’s your senior night. I’m sure it’s similar to homecoming where you have a lot of distractions so what’s the key in staying focused and getting a win there?
JG: Just staying focused on our job. Senior night is an awesome opportunity to honor our seniors but we’ve got to stay focused on what we do. Pine Tree is a really good football team but I say it every week – it’s about the Mavericks. It’s about us doing our job and our responsibilities and not getting caught up in what other teams do, which is doing our assignment well. We’ve got the distractions again but we’ve just got to find a way to go 1-0.