David Mitchell commentary on Pacelli football: Now, we'll learn more about the Vikings

dmitchell@ledger-enquirer.comOctober 9, 2012 

Last week, I wrote a little bit about handling adversity, and, if you’ll bear with me, I’d like to speak about it again.

This week, I want to address another kind of adversity most teams face at some point on the field of play:


Like I said, most teams face it, and, for the most part, most teams move on from it and experience similar levels of success going forward.

But what about a team that had precious little success before this season but suddenly couldn't lose? How would it handle the adversity of a loss when its success finally hit a snag?

The football team I'm referring to is Pacelli, which was a perfect 4-0 before running into a talented Brookstone team Friday and losing 41-14.

There's no shame in the loss, because the Cougars have proven to have a very talented defense already this season and are mere plays away from a perfect 5-0 record.

But, sometimes, a loss can be more difficult to rebound from for a team that is battling so hard to improve.

You see it all the time -- the surprise team that starts out the season hitting on all cylinders, drops a game and suddenly can't regain its success.

I spoke with Vikings coach Randy Grace about this very thing last week before his team's game against Brookstone. I asked him how Pacelli was prepared to face the adversity of a loss if it should happen, something it hadn't been forced to face all year.

"When you lose, you have to teach kids how to respond to that," Grace said. "We talk about adversity all the time and how you're going to respond to it. We think that's what will help players grow as players and people."

And, he stressed, he knows he has a team full of players that are prepared to face that kind of adversity.

For what it's worth, I agree with Grace.

I think the Vikings have the right combination of players and a hunger to prove themselves. They are still young, but they are vastly improved from the team that won just a single game last year.

Prior to Brookstone's 41-point outburst, Pacelli had held opponents to a combined 34 points in four games. Meanwhile, new quarterback Wyatt Peterson had led an offense that was averaging 35.8 points per game before last Friday.

Not bad.

Will Pacelli lose again? It's likely. In fact, it might lose a couple of games.

But, if it does, I don't think that's a result of a weaker team as much as it is a result of some stiffer competition.

The manner in which the Vikings won their first four games indicated a vast improvement from 2011.

The loss to Brookstone indicated they still have a long way to go.

Now, we will learn a lot about the kind of team Grace has put together, and I think we'll find that it is closer to being very good than it is to the alternative.

David Mitchell, 706-571-8571. Follow David on Twitter@leprepsports.

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