By RYAN HERMAN
West Lincoln’s complexion may be perfect, but deep down it sees plenty of blemishes.
Since they didn’t have an opponent to prepare for, the Rebels spent last week watching game film on themselves, and worked to fine-tune the little things as they get set to put their 4-0 record on the line on Friday at home against Lincolnton in the Southern District 7 Athletic 2A Conference opener for both teams.
West Lincoln, the only varsity football team in the county without a loss, singled some things out, that, while small on the surface to fans, mean a lot to the success of a program.
“We spent a lot of time working on the fundamentals. We had some things that we needed to work on from (the) Fred T. Foard game, so we pretty much spent all week last week just working on fundamentals –– nothing new, just the same things,” Rebels coach Tom Sain said. “We’re just trying to get better at what we are already doing. Last week was just a basic week for us.”
In its 38-12 win over the Tigers on Sept. 13, West Lincoln had a season-high 18 penalties for 145 yards. In that game Sain noticed his players being out of position numerous times.
Correcting that issue was a big emphasis at practice last week.
“So that there’s no question when a play is called or a different set is called, everybody should know where to go,” he said.
“It was a good week to watch a little film on ourselves to pick up on those things, to correct any mistakes we were making.”
As the county’s only team left unbeaten and one of three in the SD-7 –– Bunker Hill and Maiden are also 4-0 –– Sain is proud of the way his players have come together as one.
Even with the little mistakes becoming a big part of last week’s practices, the fourth-year head coach knows his team is headed in the right direction.
“We’re playing pretty good right now. The guys –– the players –– are playing together, and that’s the biggest thing. These guys work so well together, and that’s that chemistry thing I keep talking about,” Sain said. “They’re always conscious of getting better each week, and that’s just something they try to do every day.”
The Rebels are led by the conference’s top rusher in Daniel Davila, who is averaging 144 yards per game on the ground. They’re also second in the league in team rushing behind Bunker Hill with 302.8 yards per game.
But having the league’s top rusher isn’t what’s important.
“It’s a team effort. Nobody is really looking for individual accolades,” Sain said. “They want what’s best for this team, and they work hard for that.”