New attitude provides a CHIP

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Photo by: Alex Meimers

Xavier Scott tries to get by a R.L. Turner defender during the teams home game on Sept. 7. The Broncos won the game 51-18 to improve to 1-1 on the season.

The Denton Broncos have a chip on their shoulder… literally.

For years the team has been seen as an easy opponent that the other team doesn’t have to worry about, including being their homecoming game. They want to change that mindset, but in order to change other people’s minds the Broncos must first change themselves.

And in order to help do so, the Bronco Football shirts now include the all-caps word “chip” on one of the shoulders.

“The whole atmosphere has changed,” senior varsity kicker and linebacker Michael Husbands said.  “It started with the coaching staff and we followed, there’s a recognizable difference. It’s a completely different team.”

In his second year at the school head football coach Kevin Atkinson has once again made a lot of changes for the 2013 football season to improve the team.

“Because the coaches got here as late as we did, last year there were some trust issues,” Atkinson said. “Now that we’ve corrected a lot of those issues, there is a night and day difference between last season’s team and this season‘s.”

Along with establishing trust, establishing athlete-coach relationships is important to the staff in building a successful football team. Defensive coordinator Matt Lawrence isn’t worried that growing numbers of players will lessen these relationships.

“Numbers are hard but we are lucky to have enough coaches to get to know players individually,” Lawrence said. “If the athlete is willing to make a relationship the door is always open and some players have a favorite coach because they see that coach choosing to build a relationship with them.”

Athlete-coach relationships are not only important in football, but also in the athlete’s everyday lives.

“The coaches bring out the best in us and make us want to be the best in everything we do,” Husbands said.

Atkinson also says that football is not solely about the sport itself, but also teaches players how to be successful.

“To me, football teaches athletes about life,” Atkinson said. “We get a bunch of kids doing what they enjoy and teach them life skills and they stay connected to those lessons.

One of these life lessons is expressed in the football team’s motto for this season, sacrifice me for we. This sacrifice means working as a team instead of individuals .

“It’s hard for some to see the end result,” Lawrence said. “They want instant gratification, but even if a player doesn’t get all the attention and praise that week they still need to be willing to give all they can on and off the field.”

Sacrificing ‘me’ for ‘we’ is especially important when players move from a sub-varsity team to varsity, where coaches expect more from them.

“Varsity is much more high paced and more demanding, but whenever we’re tired and we want to give up instead of thinking about our self we have to think about the team,” junior quarterback and inside receiver Christian Rodriguez said.

In addition to focusing on the team, players and coaches need to focus on upcoming games. Lawrence believes no game should be seen as an easy win or definite loss.

“We’re worried about all games,” Lawrence said. “We want to be competitive and our ultimate goal is to win that week’s game, and if we don’t we need to attack the next game with a hunger and desire to win.”

After all the games are played Atkinson has one goal he is worried about and he needs help from the players as well as the coaches.

“Ultimately my goal is to create a disciplined, hard working team on the field and in the classroom,” Atkinson said.