Tommy Hart runs for a first down against Laughlin in the Bobcat’s blowout win on Oct. 2. (Garrett Estrada photo)

Tommy Hart runs for a first down against Laughlin in the Bobcat’s blowout win on Oct. 2. (Garrett Estrada photo)

Before the kickoff of White Pine’s football game against Laughlin on Oct. 2., Bobcat head coach Quinn Ewell told his team that gaining momentum early would be the key to success.

“We basically had a talk before the game I told them, whichever team scored first was going to win the game,” Ewell said.

A forced turnover by the White Pine defense in the first quarter led to great field position for the Bobcat offense. A few quick slants by Monty Moore and solid running by Zachary Lawrence and Jacob Baer accomplished something the team hadn’t done in their past three games, score a touchdown.

As it turned out, Ewell’s pre-game speech was right.

The Bobcats went on to win 52-20 against the winless Laughlin team. Ewell said that putting points on the board early was so critical because it excited his players, something he felt the team lacked during their three-game losing streak.

“When they scored they got excited and continued to play excited for the rest of the game,” the coach said. “When we lost to Lincoln the week before, I knew we were better than that. It’s when they play with their heads down that they begin to struggle. I think the game against Laughlin showed that they are a good team when they start playing together.”

The coach credited the success of the running game and the ability of his backs to get outside of the tackles on sweep and option plays as the major reason the Bobcats were able to march up and down the field Thursday night.

Things also started to click on the defensive side of the ball, as the Bobcats didn’t allow any points to the Laughlin Cougars in the first half and only gave up scores after the game was firmly out of reach late into the third quarter.

Ewell is trying to maintain that enthusiasm for the Bobcat’s homecoming game against Calvary Chapel Christian Academy on Oct. 10 at 7 p.m.

“The team has started to do this chant during practice whenever one of their teammates catches a ball. To me that shows that they are starting to come together as a unit and rely on each other rather than only playing for themselves,” Ewell said.

The coach hopes that that kind of camaraderie will help keep the players focused on the upcoming game during a week filled with homecoming events and distractions.

“We’ve talked about the added pressure of homecoming as a team going into this week’s game. But as coaches, we just tell our guys to think of it just like they would any other game. It doesn’t matter who we play as long as we play our kind of football the way I know we can,” Ewell said.

That is not to say that the coaching staff hasn’t been preparing for the Lions of Calvary Chapel. One of the biggest changes during the practices has been running more “scout defense,” meaning having White Pine players watch film on the Lions defensive schemes and imitate them in practice to give the offense a better idea of what to expect come game day.  Ewell knows the importance of the game, saying that despite the teams disappointing 2-3 start to the season, another win this weekend could put the team back on track to making it to the playoffs.

“We stumbled early into our season and now we can’t afford to have many more losses. We’ve told the team that it is up to them, that this season is still in their hands. They just have to go out there on Friday and come together like we need them to,” Ewell said.