A new meaning to homecoming for Bulldogs
Homecoming has a lot more meaning for the Bulldogs this year as they are working toward taking the number two seed into the playoffs.
“We’re looking to win out and finish second so we can have home field advantage and trying to perfect everything and tweek everything on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, so when we get to the playoffs, we’ll have perfected everything,” senior Riley Alef said.
Two of the Bulldogs’ three losses this season have come at Kitchens’ Field, and the team is more prepared to defend its home turf in order to ensure at least one more game in New Albany.
“It’s a really big deal because it will give us momentum going into the playoffs, so we need to go out and get these wins at home, so we can have home field advantage,” senior Josh Creekmore said.
“It’s always good to have the home crowd behind you in the playoffs.”
The defensive performance against the Commodores last week was especially tough on Alef and Creekmore, who finished with 12 and 10 tackles respectively, and working toward fixing the mistakes and learning from that game are what they are focusing on this week in practice.
“That’s a great team, but no one wants that losing feeling,” Alef said of Lafayette.
“We didn’t play as well as we could, but at the same time, that’s a really good team we played, and from that, we’re going to improve on the mistakes we made and hope to get better.”
“We can’t be scared to come up and tackle anyone,” Creekmore added.
“We saw a lot of people who were timid, and (Demarkus) Dennis is a very good running back, but like with anyone else, you have to go up and not be afraid to tackle them.”
“The defense came out yesterday and looked better, and we’ll go out today and try to be a lot better, same with the offense. We just have to get better.”
New Albany has won 11 home games in the last three seasons, so there is a sense of pride when they step onto Kitchens’ Field. Also, if the Bulldogs win out and clinch the two seed in the playoffs, they will accomplish a goal they set at the beginning of the year and silence critics that said this would be a rebuilding year.
“As a senior, it’s special to play at home,” Alef said. “It’s the last time we’ll be here and stuff like that, and no one expected us to be where we are right now, and I think it shows a lot about our football team and how much we’ve improved by the way people looked at us before the season and where we are right now.”
The next two weeks will be very important for the Bulldogs and their playoff hopes. With a focused squad and the bottom two teams in the division coming to New Albany, the ‘Dawgs are in prime position to take a good seed into the playoffs and give the home fans at least one more opportunity to cheer them on in the postseason.
About Chris Elkins
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