You can say Messalonskee’s soccer staff is rebuilding this yr, however in sports activities “rebuilding” evokes a way of arduousness, of the lengthy haul. So how do you describe a staff that has a 6-0 document after beforehand successful solely 5 video games in 5 years?
No matter you need to name it, the Messalonskee Eagles are doing it over in Oakland.
After two winless seasons in 2018 and 2019, and a two-win season final yr, Messalonskee has kicked off its 2023 season on an unimaginable undefeated streak, beating groups like Cony and Falmouth after being haunted by them for therefore lengthy.
“Hitting our marks,” first-year head coach Blair Doucette calls Messalonskee’s revenge tour. “Checking off bins.”
The seeds of a renaissance have been first planted on the finish of final season, when an interim Messalonskee teaching workers, rookie quarterback and naked bones squad defeated historic powerhouses Lawrence in a shootout, 48-45.
On the time, this system was at a low, with three coaches having all of the sudden stop or been dismissed. Messalonskee practically canceled its closing three video games, till a number of the gamers inspired Doucette and different Oakland-area coaches to fill in on the closing hour.
“We had no enterprise successful that sport,” Doucette mentioned with fun. “It was Tatum’s third begin at quarterback, and we had so many accidents. That win picked the youngsters up, and propelled us to this yr.”
It was over the offseason that the Eagles constructed on their momentum, and with out warning grew to become the fearsome staff they’re right now.
Numbers at voluntary exercises ballooned from 10 or 12 to as much as 40, the tempo of play at follow grew exponentially, and the teaching workers completely revamped the offensive and defensive schemes.
“We have been motivated to get again to our wealthy custom of successful,” Doucette mentioned. “The children have been so engaged and bought-in. They have been excited for change and put the work in — the championship reps.”
The work has definitely paid off.
By way of six video games, Messalonskee has scored 247 factors (41.2 factors per sport) and allowed solely 55 (9.1 per sport) en path to an undefeated begin.
Powered by dominant talent guys like seniors Sam Dube and Garrett Card, an “excellent” line corps permitting just one.5 sacks per sport and a real chief in sophomore quarterback Tatum Doucette, the Eagles can beat you any means they should — and the stats present it.
Messalonskee has 15 dashing touchdowns and 15 passing touchdowns. Tatum Doucette has the identical variety of interceptions (three) as Messalonskee’s protection and particular groups have touchdowns.
“It’s an entire staff effort,” coach Doucette mentioned. “I couldn’t be luckier with my teaching workers, and the youngsters have proven they’ll reply to adversity.”
Most significantly, although, the Eagles haven’t misplaced their underdog spirit, regardless of successful six in a row. They haven’t forgotten how a lot they’ve struggled in latest reminiscence, and the way a lot they need that gold ball.
“We undoubtedly nonetheless have that underdog mentality,” Doucette mentioned. “We need to be that program with these massive wins.”
Messalonskee’s largest win but might come this Friday on the street in opposition to Lawrence. Lawrence is true on Messalonskee’s tail and in addition has a 4-0 document in opposition to in-conference opponents.
A victory over the Bulldogs would deliver Messalonskee’s renaissance full circle, again to the place it began late final October.
Of the groups which have troubled Messalonskee lately, Lawrence is on the high of the checklist. The 2 sides have met 22 occasions within the final 20 years, with the Eagles solely successful thrice, and never as soon as in Fairfield.
“Enjoying at Lawrence is a tricky surroundings,” Doucette mentioned. “It will get loud, with the Canine Pound. I can’t bear in mind the final time we beat them away.”
To make issues much more fascinating, 18-year Lawrence head coach John Hersom was previously Messalonskee’s head coach within the Nineteen Nineties when Blair Doucette was the staff’s quarterback.
A possible state championship look is weeks away, however this Friday the Eagles have an opportunity to show to themselves, to their rivals and to the neighborhood of Oakland that their renaissance is in full bloom, and that they’ve totally taken flight.