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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Mavericks would rather have ranking later in season

LINDSIDE - Don't get James Monroe's Mavericks wrong. They like being rated the No. 3 football team in Class AA.

But just because it's getting late in the season, third-year coach David Witt doesn't exactly wait with baited breath each time the WVSSAC computer ratings go public.

“We work at focusing one week at a time,” Witt said. “Our players are very aware that the only ranking that means anything is the one at the end of Week 11. Š That's the one that we focus on.

“Week 3 through Week 10 doesn't really mean a whole lot.”

But what does mean a lot is continuing the momentum James Monroe has built after running off seven straight victories. The Mavericks (7-0) will look to do just that coming off a bye week as they prepare to host No. 21 Point Pleasant (3-5).

“They've got good size and good skill people to go along with it,” Witt said of the Black Knights. “They're a hard-nosed football team. We had a really good game with them last year at Point Pleasant; I think the final score was 21-14 and it came right down to the wire.

“We expect the same kind of game with them coming in here Friday night.”

Witt pointed out that even though Point Pleasant is 3-5, they are still in the hunt for the postseason.

“They're a team that if they can win their next two, they're going to get into the playoffs at 5-5, most likely,” the Mavericks coach said. “We know they're going to play hard and that we have to have our best game to be successful against them.”

The James Monroe offense has been paced all season by senior all-stater Andrew Robertson, but the Mavs have also had reliable counter-punches in Jason Jackson and Heath Mullins.

In the end, though, Witt knows where offensive success will have to be produced.

“We'll probably have to win the war in the trenches, but I know that's something (coaches) say for every ballgame,” Witt said.

But that doesn't make the well-used coaching axiom any less true.

“It's not a secret,” Witt said. “If you dominate the line of scrimmage, you enhance your chances of winning. With the type of football we play, we have to be able to own the line of scrimmage.”

The Mavericks need to keep their momentum rolling, especially with a showdown against the rival Bluefield Beavers on the horizon next week.

But, as Witt says, that's next week. For now, his charges only have Friday's home finale on their minds.

“It's senior night, so it's the last chance for them to play a regular season game on their home field,” Witt said. “For all you know, it could be the last one you ever play up here, so it's always a big night for them. We definitely would like to send them off with a win.”

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