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October 22, 2013

GRIDIRON AFTERMATH: Bulldogs hope to learn lessons from Floyd loss

Moving Mattingly to QB has helped Pioneers on both sides of ball

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — New Albany coach Charlie Fields hopes the Bulldogs’ heartbreaking setback to Floyd Central will be another learning experience for them this season. New Albany (6-3) must recover well if it plans to upset Class 3A No. 3 Center Grove (8-1) on the road in the Class 6A Sectional 8 semifinals this coming Friday.

Fields says his troops have bounced back well from their two other losses in 2013. The setbacks were a 14-7 loss at Castle on Aug. 30 and a 48-20 thumping at Columbus East on Sept. 20.

“We learn from every loss,” Fields said. “We learned and got better after the Castle loss. We learned and got better after the Columbus East loss. If we learn from this, we’ll be fine. It’s very tough and emotional for [the Bulldogs losing to Floyd Central]. But they’ll learn from it and we’ll have a great week of practice and we’ll give Center Grove everything they want and more.”

Fields says his players must continue to work on toning down their emotions entering a big game.

“When we just play, we’re pretty good,” Fields said. “The problem with this game [with the Highlanders] is we got very emotional and we didn’t play as well as we felt we could. For a stretch against [in New Albany’s 33-26 win over Jeffersonville on Oct. 4], we were in a very similar situation and once we settled down, we did better.”

— Kevin Harris

A CHANGE THAT HELPED BOTH SIDES

Since replacing Nathan Banet with Owen Mattingly at quarterback, Providence’s offense has looked like an entirely different unit.

So has its defense — and that’s no coincidence.

In closing the regular-season with five straight wins, the Pioneers have scored 213 points (and that includes a forfeit win over this week’s opponent, Indianapolis Manual) and has given up just 37.

“It’s was more than just changing personnel,” Providence coach Larry Denison explained. “We knew we thought we had a lot of good skill guys, so we thought spreading it out and throwing the ball was the way to do it. It turned out running the ball was a better fit for us and we’re not turning the ball over like before.

“We’re not putting our defense in bad situations, like before. It’s helped with both sides. It also allowed us to move Nathan over to [cornerback] and that’s helped our defense out, too. It’s something that made a big difference.”

Despite a 62-12 win over Clarksville in the City Championship, Denison didn’t think his team performed as well as it had in wins over Jeffersonville, Mitchell and Charlestown.

“We won fairly handily, but we didn’t play as well as we should have,” he said. “We missed tackles and blocking assignments and we had some special teams miscues. Those are things that against teams like a Triton Central or Milan or Paoli, they’ll make you pay for. We have to do a better job of fixing those things.”

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