As Pacelli trudges on in its search for its first victory of the season, the team has found an entirely new oasis of motivation in playing for the Broocelli Jug.
The Vikings (0-6, 0-6 Region 4-A) play at Brookstone (6-1. 6-1) today in the decades-old rivalry game. They will look to mark a turnaround and bring the trophy — a milk jug painted with Brookstone and Pacelli colors and the scores of recent games — back to campus.
“We started off 0-6, and we’re trying to get our season back on track,” Pacelli wide receiver and cornerback Brandon Miller said. “And what better way to do that than beat our rival?”
While the Vikings have gone winless through their first six games, the team is still positive it is making improvements and staying competitive.
“The scores don’t really reflect the outcomes of the games,” Miller said. “A lot of the times, it’s been a few big plays here and there, like a long run or a breakdown on special teams, that made the difference. Otherwise, it has been close.”
It certainly has not helped Pacelli to play in Region 4-A this season. Several local coaches have ranked it as one of the toughest in the state, with five playoff teams from 2009 and a 10-game region schedule for each of them.
“I’ll tell anybody that this is the toughest (region) in the state,” Pacelli coach Bryan Eason said. “I have no doubt.”
As rough as the Region 4-A road is, Eason said his team’s biggest struggle has been with its depth and inexperience, not its opponents. Pacelli has four seniors and one junior, and the team had 19 active players last week.
“My kids have yet to lay down on anybody, though,” he said. “Practices are still motivated. They know they are young and they have struggled, but they keep going every week.”
Eason and the Vikings have set aside their record as a measuring stick and instead focused on details each week, such as improving on blocking or finding gaps in the line.
“Everyone is getting better even though we’re not winning,” Pacelli lineman Daniel Lambert said. “We’re progressing slowly but surely every week.”
Now, Pacelli players hope those small improvements yield big gains, starting this week at Brookstone, which has won five straight in the series for the Broocelli Jug.
“We know that Brookstone is a well-coached and disciplined team,” Pacelli quarterback Joseph Reese said. “We are going to need to play our best game and keep our mistakes down to a minimum.”
Chris White, 706-571-8571; follow Chris online at twitter.com/le_chriswhite.