Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Sunday Column: Loss to test Hobbs football's resolve

  There were no happy faces on the Hobbs sideline as the clock ticked to zero and the scoreboard read 50-7 in favor of Goddard on Friday night at the Wool Bowl in Roswell.
  Prior to the game Hobbs had aspirations of making a statement against the defending Class 4A state champion Rockets – a program the Eagles have struggled with since 1988, going 3-23 over that time.
  Hobbs was 4-0 for the first time since 2000 heading into the contest and felt like it had the pieces to compete with the Rockets.
  Instead, Goddard showed why it’s one of the premier programs in the state and the Eagles confirmed they still have work to do as the Rockets took advantage of Hobbs’ carelessness with the football early in the game (four turnovers in the first five possessions) to build a 41-0 halftime lead on its way to the 43-point victory.
  The lesson learned was a painful one for the Eagles on Friday.
  Hobbs hadn’t put four quarters of solid football together all season but was good enough to beat their first four opponents by an average of 21 points per game during the 4-0 start.
  But the Eagles’ inconsistency and turnover problems came back to bite them against the Rockets (while Hobbs had forced 22 turnovers going into Friday, the Eagles also committed 13).
  Those four turnovers were like waving a piece of meat in front of a caged animal as the Rockets pounced on the Eagles’ mistakes – turning those turnovers into 27 points and building an insurmountable lead.
  Really Friday’s contest came down to this: Hobbs played it’s worst game of the season and Goddard played great. That’s a recipe for a 50-7 Hobbs loss.
  Now a bit of adversity has smacked the Eagles and we’re going to find out what kind of resolve and character this team has.
  Will Hobbs fall back on the program’s old ways of letting one loss spiral a season out of control or will the Eagles break the cycle, learn from the loss, refocus for next week’s important contest against Alamogordo and get back on track (could be a crucial game for seeding and selection purposes for the state playoffs)?
  There is no doubt the Hobbs football program has taken strides forward in 2013. It’s just not the Eagles being 4-1 compared to 1-4 last season playing the same schedule, it’s the continuity and success the program has had at all levels.
  Hobbs isn’t a championship-or-bust program yet. There is still work to be done. This is a program that has one playoff win and 104-209 record since 1982 that is still learning how to win.
  Part of that process is learning from disappointing losses and applying those lessons to future games.
  If the Eagles can do that and come out strong against Alamogordo, it’s another step forward for Hobbs.
  The Eagles can’t let Goddard beat them twice ... or three times ... or the rest of the season.
  If so those unhappy Hobbs faces seen on the sideline Friday in Roswell will be here to stay.

(Editor's note: This column appeared in Sunday's edition of the Hobbs News-Sun. To get content like this and more on athletic teams in Lea County, get a hard copy or online subscription to the News-Sun by calling 575-393-2123.)