Four games does not a season make, but if you win those four games and you are the Thornwood football team, it is a pretty good start.
The Thunderbirds won four games last year, but had three consecutive 1-8 marks before that. Thornwood is 3-0 and travels to winless Stagg tonight, but coach Wilber Milhouse knows his team has not put four quarters together and he is more concerned with that than winning.
"We looked at the films and every player made at least one mental mistake against Lincoln-Way North," Milhouse said. "We have to eliminte those mistakes -- mental and physical -- if we are to be successul."
That doesn't mean there is excitement in South Holland as the Thunderbirds are looking to make their first playoff appearance since 2001. It is in the back of the players' minds, but getting their game together is the top priority, quarterback P.J. Bolton said.
"We have to be ready to play and that means no mistakes," Bolton said. "We made a lot of mistakes, missed assignments in the first three games, but if we keep making them, it will be tough to win games."
He and his teammates are excited and want to show the program has finally turned the corner.
"We are glad to win those three games and be 3-0," Bolton said. "It's a nice way to start a season, but we know there are more than three games to a season.
"We just have to be prepared."
Milhouse is optimistic and encouraging, but also knows you can't keep playing with fire and expect to not get burned.
"We have played well and we knew we had the talent to do well," Milhouse said. "We just have to focus and keep that focus. We had Linclon-Way North down and had to hang on. We just have to learn to finish and part of that is not making mistakes."
This is a program which is learning how to win. When the Thunderbirds put those four quarters together, a light will go on in their heads and that will make a major difference.
"We have to be ready Friday," Cedric Doxy said. "We know we are a good team, but we can't let down. We have to come out ready to play."
That is what is scary. Stagg is 0-3 and has been shut out the last two weeks. It is looking to win for the first time since 2009. I saw the Chargers in Week 1 against T.F. North and they are not that bad. A fumble here, a missed tackle there and Thornwood could find itself in a hole.
Thornwood has let teams back in, but has yet to get into a hole and I am not sure how it would react if it got down a few scores.
Nevertheless, this is an exciting start to the season and it can be something special for the T'Birds and Coach Milhouse. The players have put in a lot of time and this could be the most exciting season at the school in a long time.
This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.