Wildcats continue to change the mentality

Charles Chaney
The Wildcats are figuring out how to turn around a program

There’s a lot of things people talk about when they mention El Dorado football, winning was really never one they mentioned.

With the first playoff win in school history, the Wildcats have set a new bar for future classes. To ask a bunch of teenagers to try and turn around a program who hadn’t seen a winning season since they were in diapers is a tall task.

It’s working, though. This El Dorado team is creating a buzz. The Wichita Eagle came to the game. Multiple businesses took to social media and voiced their support. While the crowd was slow to arrive, they were loud and it felt like a difference.

Everything changing this season and it appears to be for the foreseeable future with all of the youth that is injected into the roster.

“We didn’t win a game in middle school,” senior Zach Wittenberg said. “It’s nice to be where we are at and see the hard work we’ve put into it pay off.”

El Dorado head coach Wes Bell has done a great job of getting his kids to buy into a system that sometimes isn’t pretty and can be a little boring. A dive here. A pitch here. A dive to the other side.

As the famous Herman Boone from “Remember the Titans” said: Like Novocain, give it time and it’ll work.

It worked all right. They ran all over the Winfield Vikings on Friday night, with a season high of 451 yards. They did it by committee and they did it by trusting their system.

“I never saw this coming when I was a freshman,” junior Connor Clausing said. “With the change in coaching and we’re sticking to the system. It’s working.”

Bell, in only his second year has changed the mentality of a program that was the doormat of the AVCTL and their respective class. Since 2003, the program had experienced a 3-win season or less 15 times, including a 26-game losing streak that spanned four seasons. They didn’t win a game from Nov. 8, 2008 through Oct. 21, 2011.

When I first met Bell, he talked about changing the “El Dorado mentality,” where you’re beaten before you’ve even started. They are showing the change in the El Dorado mentality.

“These kids have a chip on their shoulder,” Bell said. “It’s cool to watch. They’ve done everything we’ve asked and it’s fun to be a part of.”