Since winning in Week 1, the Orioles have dropped three straight games. And it won’t get any easier traveling to take on the Andale Indians, the No. 2 ranked team in Class 4A.
Coach Roger Robben knows the task seems daunting. But he and the Orioles aren’t not going to let themselves be phased. They know this is another chance to improve as a team.
“Each week our goal is to improve. Yes, they are a very good football team. We believe when we play up to our abilities and do what we are coached to do, we can also be that,” Robben said. “We are preparing this week with the mindset that no matter the opponent or the situation, we have to step up our game to be able to take those steps forward as a team.”
The season might seem to have taken a rough turn, but Robben is quick to point out that it hasn’t been from a lack of effort. And the Orioles are very motivated to compete against anyone. In some respects, the Orioles matched Clearwater’s physicality last week.
“I have to say their efforts have been the best since I have been here and I know we are taking steps forward as a team despite the final score in some of these games,” Robben said. “We can only control what we do as a team. Winning is our ultimate goal, but we also know the opponent is trying to do the same thing.”
While the Orioles have two losses by 20 or more points, they have been one or two big plays away from keeping things much closer. To give themselves a chance not only this week but for the second half of the season, the Orioles must stop beating themselves. They’ve had costly turnovers that led to points by their opponents when they were close to scoring themselves.
On offense Chaydon Carter continues to be a key role player in the Orioles’ offense. Last week he had a rushing and receiving touchdown.
On special teams The Orioles struggled to slow down Clearwater’s return game on punts and kickoffs. The Indians had 118 kickoff-return yards and 71 yards on three punt returns, which allowed for great starting field position most of last week’s game. The Orioles will have to tackle better in open space to prevent that kind of production.
From the coach
It isn’t too hard to see why Andale’s program consistently churns out winning seasons. The Indians have deep talent across the board.
Page 2 of 2 - “They have a winning tradition first and foremost. They also have incredibly gifted athletes with size, speed and strength,” Robben said of the Indians. “Coach O'hair and his staff do a nice job preparing his players for competition. There is something to be said for the saying, ‘Success breeds success!’"