09/18/08 — Spring Creek using bye week to heal

View Archive

Spring Creek using bye week to heal

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on September 18, 2008 12:52 PM

For some teams, the bye week built into the high school football schedule is a momentum-killing nuisance.

Other teams embrace the rest period -- especially Spring Creek.

The Gators (0-4 overall) need the extra days to heal.

"We have so many injuries ... guys playing new positions. I have never seen anything like it," said first-year Spring Creek head coach Aaron Sanders. "I don't think it is necessarily one unit that is depleted. It's the injuries to our experienced players that hurt."

Sanders pointed out Paul Hayes. The three-year starter anchored an inexperienced offensive line.

"When you lose a guy like Paul, you lose a strong lineman and one of the few guys we have who has been around for multiple years," said Sanders. "Then you have to fill his position, move guys around and create a hole some place else."

Courtland Jones, the Gators' starting quarterback last week at Lakewood, added his name to the injured reserve list. The senior signal caller has a broken thumb.

Despite seeing his team's injured list overflow less than a month into regular-season play, Sanders and his staff are keeping the energy positive in practice.

"We have to stay positive. That's the only thing you can do," said Sanders. "We are going back to basics ... back to fundamentals in practice. We have to start doing the little things better.

"Making blocks correctly, lining up in the right spots, finishing tackles ... that's the stuff that will make us a better team."

Sanders has seen improvement. The Gators are maturing behind some hard-working freshmen.

"I have seen some young guys start to put things together," said Sanders. "They have to stay focused because they are the ones on the field, and that's valuable experience."

Mired in a program-worst, 20-game losing streak, the Gators aren't abandoning their preseason goals. Nothing has changed, according to Sanders.

"We want to win games, that is always our goal," said Sanders. "When that stops being the goal, that's when I will start doing something else and stop coaching."

Ready to put Class 1-A Super Six opponents in the rear view mirror, the Gators are anxious to start play within their own Carolina 1-A Conference. They conclude their regular-season, non-conference schedule at Holly Ridge Dixon on Sept. 27.

"We have played some pretty strong teams, especially those in the Super Six," said Sanders. "That's a notoriously-tough football conference and it looks like it's full of talent again this season.

"We feel like we match up better with some of the teams in our own conference, so we are looking forward to starting that schedule. If we get healthy I think we will be fine.

"Right now, that's our focus."