LANSING | The T.F. South football team knows its back is to the wall and the Rebels won't give up.
After Friday's 30-0 loss to Lemont, the Rebels are 1-3 and the road ahead looks like a tough one.
Up next is Bremen, which on Friday beat Oak Forest -- the same Oak Forest that South had on the ropes last week, but couldn't finish. All three of the Rebels' losses were to teams that were undefeated going into Friday's action. In fact, all four opponents are a combined 14-2 after Friday's action.
After Friday's game, coach Tom Padjen and his staff addressed the team and did not criticize, but challenged the team. There are still five games left and this can still be a playoff team.
A 5-4 record would probably qualify the Rebels because of their schedule. They would have enough points, but South would certainly have a lot more momentum if it could run the table the last five weeks. It will not be an easy one to run.
"We have played hard all year," Rebels coach Tom Padjen said. "We just can't put ourselves in a position where we are down two or three scores. It makes it tough to come back, especially against teams like Lemont."
There were a lot of kids fighting until the end, even though the game was out of reach.
"We need that -- kids who will play hard the whole game," Padjen said. "I was proud of the defense and I have confidence in my kids."
It is time for the seniors to show their leadership. They must have the same confidence the coaches have in them. I am sure the community thinks they can do it because everyone knows how Lansing and Lynwood have been behind this program.
The Rebels have to cut down on physical and mental mistakes, like the holding call on what would have been a 69-yard touchdown pass. That would have cut the Lemont lead to 10-7 and it might have been a different story.
Leadership means not only being on time and ready to practice, but making sure the younger kids are ready, too. The players know the South coaches put together an excellent game plan each week. Their job is to execute it. It also means the seniors have to make plays, whether it is finishing a tackle or not jumping offsides, the Rebels' fate is in their hands.
It will be an interesting final five weeks and I think this team can do it. Some people may write them off, but I know the coaching staff hasn't.
The players have to believe in each other and not write themselves off.
This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.