TUESDAY, OCT. 27: The buildup for the Wayne Hills at Wayne Valley football game on Nov. 6 has been steadily increasing for a few weeks. But for Wayne Hills, the focus is one day at a time.
On paper, it will be 6-2 Wayne Hills visiting what should be an 8-0 Wayne Valley team, assuming the undefeated Indians defeat winless Demarest this Friday night. Next week’s game marks the final week of the regular season, and while the game has no affect on playoff positioning, there’s plenty at stake.
A Big North Conference championship goes to the winner, as both teams are unbeaten within its division.
Hills head coach Wayne Demikoff is dealing with something new this season, a bye week. It means a chance to get work in, without a game this coming Friday night. Demikoff is handling the week off carefully. The Patriots had shorter practices from Monday-Wednesday of this week, mixing in offense, defense, lifting in the weight room and plenty of conditioning.
This Thursday, the coach plans to begin full preparation for Valley, but will give the team the weekend off. By Monday, Nov. 2, it will be full force toward a game that has so many dynamics.
“Wayne Valley will probably be 8-0 when we play them,” Demikoff reminded his team. “It’s not easy to go undefeated, but they’ve done that. When you win that many in a row, the confidence soars. That makes for a difficult opponent, for sure.”
For the most part, the Patriots are healthy heading into the bye week. Lineman Matt Sportelli injured his knee in the Paramus game, but he’s confident he’ll be practicing later this week, after being fitted for a brace.
“I’ll be fine, no worries,” Sportelli assured Demikoff on Tuesday.
Joe Kenny’s new football spikes have impressed the Czar, Walt Johnson, who tells Kenny he can get a new pair of shoes every week, if he so desires.
Practices are going well, with a focus on a specific part of the game. Johnson and Mike Zaccone lead a special teams drill, while offensive coordinator John Jacob barks out instructions. Demikoff and defensive coordinator Jermain Johnson are working on different defensive schemes.
Assistant coach and former Patriot Erik Magrini has been busier than usual. The coach and his significant other welcomed a healthy baby girl, named Presley late last week. Presley weighed in at 7 pounds, 15 ounces. The baby and her mom are already home.
“The baby is great,” said Erik. “It’s been quite an experience.”
The normal Monday night coaches meeting was scaled back a little this week, but the coaches are still putting in extra time, preparing for Wayne Valley’s complex offensive formations and dangerous passing attack. There’s already been a lot of film work.
Demikoff noted that assistant coach Chris Dowling didn’t bring the usual donuts and coffee to the meeting, even with this blog running for the next two weeks.
There will be lots to talk about, beginning with a game day parade and tee-shirt sales coming up, along with some memories of previous Hills-Valley football games, from Hills coaches and former players.
Tick, tick, tick…