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The Spencer County Middle School Grizzlies showed some heart last week as they tried to rally from a 24-0 deficit at Wayne County before falling 32-16 in the state playoffs.
Coach Butch Patterson said the three-hour bus trip and a wet field took its toll on his kids as they were unable to get their footing and make their cuts early on. Wayne County was able to make some big pass plays early on to build the big lead. Although Spencer County came out in the second half and outplayed their opponent, the comeback just wasn’t enough.
Despite the loss, the season was a success by any measure. They compiled an impressive 10-2 record and the program continues to send fundamentally-sound players to the high school.
“Our key to success is all about the kids’ willingness to learn to play together as a family and wanting to win more than anything. They work hard and they are good kids on and off the field,” said Patterson. “I tell them every day that there is nobody in the state that works harder than we do.”
Success not only comes immediately on the scoreboard and won-loss record at the middle school, but also is evident by the contributions of the kids at high school. There are a number of freshmen and sophomores playing key roles for the Spencer County Bears, who learned the game well at middle school and arrived at the high school ready to contribute.
It helps that the coaching staff at the middle school patterns its strategy and scheme to match that of Bears’ Coach Mike Marksbury.
“We run the same thing as the high school, but we do it a little simpler. When the boys get there they add some tags and twists,” said Patterson, but it helps that the boys know the plays, the formations and the general plan of attack.
While the Grizzlies will be losing many key players to the high school next season, Patterson said there are always returning kids who step up and fill the void. He said just when he thinks the middle school team might be ready to take a step back because of a loss of talent, the boys always seem to prove him wrong.