Up at the annual statewide coaching clinic in Fort Worth recently, Coach Joey Caceres heard an anecdote from a well-known college coach about how hard it is to repeat.
"The guy was saying that even though they were really good last year, and have been for some time, it always gets tougher to do the same thing over again," Caceres said Tuesday.
And as the Bobcats kicked off the 2011 season last week with the advent of fall workouts, that cautionary bromide well defines the task they face. After going 10-3 last season for the best showing since the 2000s began, the ‘Cats know that they have to fill in a number of graduation holes, and also that the rest of the Valley be gunning for them.
"Hey, I am telling these kids that we haven't done anything yet," said Caceres, whose bunch advanced to the third round of the postseason before dropping out of the hunt. "That means this is a new year and even though we enjoyed last year, it means zero to us right now. We have to get to work and not act like we will win this year just because of last year."
That seems to be the lesson that the EHS coaches heard up in Fort Worth, that over time, you build consistency and tradition, but it can all collapse in a heartbeat.
Take North for example. No one would have predicted the Coogs' fall down the mountain in 2010, but fall they did, from three playoff trips in a row to a brutal 1-9 campaign.
Coach Roy Garza has always been a big believer in continuity between seasons, mainly for the lessons it teaches the kids and staff about how to prepare and how to react to winning. He is hoping that the combination of bad luck and injuries that beset the club last fall will not repeat itself.
"We're not real deep this year, but we do have some experienced kids back on offense," said the coach. "And the past few weeks, we've had excellent work in the weight room, good attendance, and it looks like everyone is ready to get going with it."
Garza said that if all goes as planned, the Coogs should be back in the hunt for a playoff spot, putting last year behind them.
"I think there is a chance in this district for a lot of teams, perhaps some surprises," he suggested, running down the league teams one by one. "And we feel like we can be one of those at the end, if we stay healthy, that gets in."
The Coogs started Monday with a week of two-a-days, along with Econ, as both of those programs started a week later than EHS because they had spring ball. This week comes in-service and a few other interruptions, so the workout schedule for city teams will be heavier in the evening while the coaches take care of their school duties during the day.