Ottawa (2-7) concludes the 2012 season at 7 p.m. today at home against winless Santa Fe Trail. The Cyclones have not walked off the Steve Grogan Stadium field a victor since the fourth game of last year when Ottawa defeated Prairie View.
“We started the year on Thursday with a win and like to end the year on Thursday with a win,” Ottawa coach Marc Bergan said. “We want to send — not just the seniors — but everybody out with a win. We have not played well at home. Our last two outings at home were not very stellar.
“There is certainly a lot to play for. Getting a district win two years in a row and not finishing last. Finishing out the season strong.”
But the question is how will the players approach the season finale. Two years ago, the Cyclones did not compete well in a loss to Santa Fe Trail, which was the last win for the Chargers.
“What is our mind set going to be,” Bergan said. “Eudora kicked the crap out of us last week. How are we going to respond.
“Last year we went over there with the right mind set and took care of business. We have high character-type kids. We have a lot of kids that had to step up for a variety of reasons this season. They are ready. We want to get that positive feeling.”
Ottawa does not go into many games as the favorite or have bigger players on the field. But that is the case against the Chargers.
Bergan said he doesn’t know if that will be a big advantage for the Cyclones since Ottawa has found a way to overcome its lack of size in the rugged Frontier League.
Ottawa has played a tough schedule again. Six of the nine opponents will qualify for the playoffs. Paola, Louisburg, Eudora, Baldwin and Spring Hill are in. The winner of the De Soto and St. James game also will qualify.
“That is pretty good schedule,” Bergan said. “We competed well.”
Santa Fe Trail’s approach the past two seasons has been to throw everything at the Cyclones. Bergan expects the same type of game plan.
“They have shown a different front than we’ve seen all season the last two games,” Bergan said. “I can’t imagine they will play that front against us because we have not shown we can run [consistently]. Last year we ran the ball real well. That was nice.
“They scored two years in a row on a reverse pass on us.”
Ottawa’s offense has yet to click for a full game. Ottawa has shown glimpses of what it can do, but has not been consistent.
“We want to put four quarters together,” Bergan said. “The last two games we had guys open. We had a quarter where we played at the top end of the spectrum against Spring Hill.
“It would be nice to have those 10- or 12-play drives and punch it in for a score. We would love to score a couple early.”
Bergan said this group of seniors has made an impact in a lot of aspects at the high school.
“They are a lot of fun,” he said. “I have enjoyed watching them grow as people from a personality standpoint and athletics. Not just football.
“They have put in a lot of time and showing the younger kids how to approach things. There are a lot of quiet leaders in the group. They stuck together.”
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