HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Bobcats focus on process after loss to Spearfish

The Bobcats are focusing on the positives after a 31-0 loss to the Spartans.

SPEARFISH – The Brookings Bobcats fell to 0-4 on the season with a 31-0 loss to Spearfish on Friday night. But as the Bobcats hit the midway point of the year, they’re focused on keeping a positive mindset to help them continue to improve.

“There’s obviously some frustration with things,” Brookings head coach Brady Clark admitted. “But more importantly when we’re thinking about the game and thinking throughout the game, we channel that negativity toward the positivity and each week we’ve had a common theme that we’ve seen more and more positives whether it’s the execution of plays, the attitude of the boys and all of those different things.”

Clark pointed to the morale of his young team and the fact they haven’t given up despite the rough start of the season. He believes that attitude goes a long way toward helping the team and even opponents have noticed the effort that has gone into their approach on Friday nights.

“I had fans from the Spearfish side come up and talk to me after the game and they said ‘Your boys are very respectful and they played extremely hard to the end of the game,” Clark said. “I’ve been on programs and seen programs where they don’t do that and to me, that’s a losing culture. Our boys are buying into the culture and the aspect of what we’re doing and some of the other stuff is just taking a little longer than we want to see.”

That has led the Bobcats to focus more on their process as opposed to their results. When watching the film, Clark has tried to find five positives for every negative and has tried to encourage his young team as they take their lumps on the field.

“It’s something that we’re talking about, but we’re not dwelling on it,” Clark said. “...They want to win and they’re willing to put in the work. It’s just been a unique year. I don’t feel like we’re losing the kids and that’s just due to our leadership getting better at keeping kids engaged and feeling valued. It’s the same with coaches doing a good job of keeping kids engaged and making them feel valued as well.”

While the Bobcats are still searching for their first win, Clark said the standard for the program hasn’t changed at the midway point of the season.

“Our standard has not changed and will not change,” Clark said. “We define success as give me everything you have to be the best that you can be. I know that’s a hard line to reach in cases but it doesn’t require talent. It’s something that you can control with your attitude, effort, and actions and that’s a goal of ours whether it’s every day at practice, on Friday nights, or in the classroom.”

Some of that process showed through in the loss to the Spartans as Clark felt like his team has played a little looser as the season has gone along.

“We’ve challenged the boys to commit themselves a little bit more and not be afraid to make mistakes,” Clark said. “We started to see some of that. … They had the courage to step up and go for a play and not be afraid to make a mistake. I just want to continue seeing that mindset and a team that is going to believe and be willing to get better. That’s really all we can ask for.”

The Bobcats will look to take another step forward next week when they host Douglas for homecoming at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium in Brookings.

“We have a big one this week with homecoming,” Clark said. “It’s another great opportunity to get our first win of the season and that’s our goal moving into this week. There will be a lot of distractions throughout the week, but it’s also a fun week. There’s a lot of pride in our high school and in our town for the kids and alumni that are a part of it. We’re hoping to go out and not disappoint.”