The Wolverines’ coach wouldn’t have it any other way.
“First and foremost, we could have scheduled some easier opponents, maybe, and come out here and got the wins,” Brent Budde said. “But we don’t feel like that would be valuable to us down the road. We’re sitting at 0-2 right now going up against a top-10 team in the state in Class AAAAA. But I think we’re getting better every week because of the opponents we’re playing.”
Tonight at Kell, a team coming off a bye week following its win over Chattahoochee in the Corky Kell Classic, Woodstock will face an opponent that carries a similar identity and loads of Division I-caliber talent.
Regardless, the focus for the Wolverines is on improving the team to a level where it can compete for the postseason after missing out last season for the first time since 2007.
“We played better against Harrison than we did against Johns Creek, and we expect to play better against Kell than we did Harrison,” Budde said. “That may not equate to a win, but the plan is to get to the playoffs. Whether you’re in with a 10-0 record or in at 6-4, you’re still in the playoffs. The goal is the end of the season. We’re just working toward peaking at the right time.”
While Budde said he and his assistants are unfazed by the early losses, the team isn’t immune to hearing criticisms from the community.
“When you start off on a bad foot, some people might moan and groan out there,” he said, “but that’s what I talk to the players about. Our faith in what we’re doing has to be stronger than any doubters. We know what this team is capable of. We just have to not pay attention to the naysayers and not let it bring our energy down.
“If Harrison and Johns Creek make the playoffs — and I’m almost positive Kell will be in — that will probably be on our side. Walton and Lassiter will be in. There will likely be five playoff teams for us to start the season that will probably be there at the end of the year. We’re losing to quality opponents, and we haven’t played our best game. That’s important to realize.”
More than stressing the challenge ahead, Woodstock is making sure that it continues to believe in what it is doing, and continue to put in the effort necessary to improve.
“Last Friday, I related that I was proud of the effort and of us fighting hard,” Budde said. “We just made too make mistakes that we couldn’t overcome. But we’re getting better. We just have to stay on the bus. It’s heading in the right direction. That’s what’s so great about our kids at Woodstock. They’re not going to quit, not going to fold, not going to mail it in, so to say. I fully expect them to come out here and work hard.”
Though Budde is proud of his team’s overall effort, he’s still making some tweaks ahead of tonight’s game.
After Justin Agner got most of the snaps against Harrison last week at quarterback, Budde said Alex Motsinger would be involved more in tonight’s game.
“Alex only got a couple of snaps in the game when Agner had to come out of the game (against Harrison) for having a scrape on his arm,” Budde said. “So, Alex went in. But I expect that we will throw Alex in a little more this week, and see what he can do in the game.”
Even with a potential change in the number of plays for his two quarterbacks, Budde expects the game plan will remain the same. That means Woodstock will likely try to ground the ball out once more with the help of running back Jean Boureau, who has picked up more playing time out of the backfield over the last two weeks.
“He did well,” Budde said. “He ran the ball hard. He did what Jean does — giving everything he’s got. We tried to get him free in some areas and couldn’t quite break out of the pack a couple of times (last week). Overall, he did a really good job for us.”