David Mitchell commentary: Spencer keeps improving

dmitchell@ledger-enquirerNovember 13, 2013 

For the second consecutive season, the Spencer football team settled for being the bridesmaid instead of the bride.

Or something like that. While the comparison of a football team to a woman dressed in white may not be entirely appropriate, the point is the same.

Like last year, Spencer came up short against Kendrick in its final game of the regular season, missing a chance at a winning season and a playoff berth. The streaks without clinching either of those extended to 36 and 20 years, respectively.

But this isn't going to be a negative column. Those five sentences are all I can muster to point out the negatives of the Greenwave's season. Because, really, this year was an overwhelming success.

Think about where Spencer was prior to this year.

It hadn't won five games since 2007, and even that year was just a brief respite from a decade of futility. Three times this century, Spencer has failed to win a game. Four other times in those 14 seasons, it won just one. It settled for two wins on three occasions and three on two. I think I'd be putting it mildly to say the Greenwave haven't had a ton of success.

But five wins this year in coach Calvin Arnold's second season at the helm? I do count that as successful.

No, not every game was good. But, as a growing program, it is understandable that it would lose to the teams it is supposed to lose to.

Carver, Manchester, Bowdon, Heard County and Kendrick -- five losses to five teams whose seasons have extended into the postseason. There are worse teams to lose to.

And, on the other hand, there were certainly some good wins too.

Take the 46-41 win over Bremen, for example. The only thing that kept Bremen from the playoffs was the fact that Spencer beat it.

Look, I know the players are disappointed they won't be playing in the postseason. Just talking to them throughout the season, I could tell how hungry they were to do something Spencer hadn't done in years.

To them, it's a letdown, and nothing I say or you say or anyone says is going to convince them differently. When players and coaches know how much time they put in throughout the year, they expect to win every time they take the field. The truth is, everyone works that hard and sometimes another team executes a little better than you do on Friday.

But does that take anything away from the obvious improvements Spencer made this year? Absolutely not.

With two minutes, 30 seconds remaining in the game against Kendrick, Spencer quarterback Tarvaraska Davis hit Patrick Jones for a 43-yard touchdown, the game's final score. To use an only moderately appropriate comparison, perhaps that was Jones catching the bouquet for Spencer.

Maybe next year, Spencer can finally be the bride.

David Mitchell, dmitchell@ledger-enquirer.com; Follow David on Twitter@leprepsports.

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