Back to basics

Jim McKee says he rededicated his own focus after Scott County's humbling loss to Frederick Douglass two weeks ago.

Ten days after a disheartening loss at Frederick Douglass, Scott County football remains hyper-focused on the Broncos.

If you assume that’s a bad thing, you probably missed Friday night’s thorough throttling of Ryle, 57-14, or overestimate the challenge Grant County, Montgomery County, Ballard and an undetermined playoff opponent will pose over the next five weeks (including a bye).

SC is on a revenge and rededication tour — “eating humble pie,” as coach Jim McKee, perhaps borrowing from the NFL’s Bill Belichick, puts it — and a series of teams that look decent when picking on people at their own level are merely in the way.

“Last Friday outside of a competitive effort on defense was just an epic fail,” SC coach Jim McKee reflected after the demolition of Ryle. 

“I’m never embarrassed to be the coach. I never stop wearing my stuff (in public) or anything like that. I know that if you coach and play and get involved in competitive athletics long enough, that you’re going to lose games, and you’re also going to get beaten badly. We just gave such a bad effort, starting at the top with me. I thought I had them ready to play, and I didn’t.”

One week after being shut out for the first time since 2001, Scott County’s varsity offense scored on every possession, just as it did against Bryan Station and Emmerich Manual before the disaster at Douglass.

Bronson Brown and Philip Garner combined for 300 yards and five scores on the ground, while Cade McKee threw two touchdowns and enjoyed his most prolific passing night of the season.

Scott County eliminated the turnovers and mostly eradicated the harmful penalties that haunted the Cards in their resounding loss.

“That’s not to take anything away from Frederick Douglass,” Jim McKee said. “I’ve seen everybody in the state on film, just because I have access and time. They have the second-best roster in the state (to Trinity). It’s not even really close. When you go man-for-man, them and us, it’s not close. Joe Q. Fan might not want to hear it, but it’s the facts.”

McKee expanded upon his previous statements that he didn’t have the team ready to play in the showdown game.

“If you go back and look at an article you write, and you care as much about writing articles as much as I care about coaching football, if you go back and look at one and realize that it’s inaccurate, wrong, thrown together, you feel like crap,” he said. “Roger Daniel, Phil Garner, Todd Reed (parents of key players), I didn’t even want to see those guys. I didn’t (want to leave the house) until tonight. And I want to go back home now and get back to work on them for (Nov.) 15.”

That would be the date of a playoff rematch against the Broncos, if the Cards “take care of business,” McKee cautioned, in those four aforementioned games, which would put all four home at Birds Nest Stadium.

Based on his earlier comments, does the coach believe his team has a chance? 

Sure. Maybe a Joe Namath in Super Bowl III chance, or a United States vs. Soviet Union “Miracle on Ice” chance, but an opportunity nonetheless.

“We could never beat them in a seven-game series. The talent level differential is too big. But we might be able to get them on one Friday night,” McKee said. “You can’t play them right now. You can’t play them until Nov. 15. We played well tonight, Bronson ran hard. We threw it pretty good, better than we have. Our inability to kick off and punt effectively is a major hinge to our football team. We made a big step forward in the second half (against Ryle).”

McKee blamed himself for getting caught up in social media, dwelling on Douglass’ insistence upon calling Scott County “that team up north” and other mild annoyances.

“It’s on me to set the tone every Sunday. I signed out of all my social media accounts. I wish I hadn’t been reading that poison up to this point. All it did every time I read it, I was wasting time I should have been coaching football,” he said. “I can get on that stuff at Christmas. I can sign in for two seconds and tweet something if we beat Frederick Douglass or whatever.

“I let my focus drift a little bit. I got in the Scott County hall of fame. I should have been in the coaching hall of fame after last Friday’s effort I gave. So I’m bound and determined to give a better effort.” 

Twice the fun

Both county teams will play a district game at home this week, in a scheduling quirk.

SC will renew an old border battle against Grant County (3-4)  at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, followed by Great Crossing (0-6) against Montgomery County (2-4) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The Warhawks and Indians both are coming off their bye week. GC loss 35-6 to Paul Laurence Dunbar in its previous outing, while MoCo hoeps to stay undefeated in the district after a 48-16 victory over Grant County.

Grant’s wins are over 2A Owen and Carroll counties and 3A Henry County. They took 54-0 medicine from Douglass at home last Friday.

Kal Oakes can be reached via email at sports@news-graphic.com.

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