Zion Chapel head coach still seeing positives

Published 3:00 am Thursday, October 16, 2014

By Sean Holohan

JACK – Zion Chapel suffered a blowout loss to Region 3 opponent New Brockton last Friday, losing 52-0, but that hasn’t kept Rebel head coach Bradley Bowers from looking at the bright side of things.

Although the Rebels are off to a rough 1-6 start this season, Bowers still sees a lot of positives to this year.

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He said the team is led by a strong class of seniors who work to get better every day, and that ethic has been rubbing off on the underclassman.

“We have been very fortunate this year and we have a good group of seniors,” Bowers said. “The younger kids see them and know that they are working to establish their legacy as players and leave the place better than when they got here.”

It’s that kind of optimism and leadership on the team that has Bowers believing that the Zion Chapel can compete with fellow Region 3 opponent Luverne Friday when the Tigers host the Rebels.

Among Luverne’s many strengths, Bowers believes the athleticism of the Tigers is what will give Zion Chapel the most fits in their matchup.

“The biggest ting that Luverne does is they have athletes all over the field,” Bowers said. “A lot of times they’ll leave defensive backs on an island. They have the athletic advantage over us on defense. We want to try to get them out of position, but its difficult because they are so disciplined.”

Bowers believes one of his team’s best assets is the offensive line. Though they are young, Bowers said they have improved significantly each week and he plans to run behind them in order to attack and offset such a speedy, athletic Luverne defense.

“Offensively, I feel our biggest strength is our offensive line.” Bowers said. “I feel our group has gotten better each week. Not just better from a standpoint of playing, but they are becoming smarter and they are not making as many mistakes.”

Defensively, Bowers said the youth of the Rebel defense has actually worked to his team’s advantage.

Though the unit started off the season inexperienced, Bowers said he likes that his young players on defense have had the opportunity to play several different positions throughout the season. That kind of experience, he said, will be very important as those players progress and find their role within the defense.

But even with a strong offensive line and versatile defense, Zion Chapel can’t afford to be as mistake-prone as they were last week.

The Rebels had a field goal blocked and an interception returned for a touchdown. Those are aspects of the game that Bowers said the team can, and should, be able to control going forward.

If his team can concentrate on execution and playing consistently from play to play, they have a shot to pull off the upset.

“We had a touch shake last week,” Bowers said. “If something could go wrong, it did go wrong. The biggest thing from last week is we have to press our guys and make sure they are ready to play.

“The biggest thing that we tell our guys is in football is there are a ton of things that you cant control, but this Friday night, we are going to have to focus on things that we can control,” Bowers said.  “If we execute, we don’t have field goals blocked and we don’t have pick-sixes. Lets worry about Zion Chapel.”