Football Mid-Season Report: Play The Game And The Results Will Come

0-6. 1,130 days without a “W” next to the name “Pace Football.” That translates to about three years without a win, but it’s been even longer since Pace Football has seen any success.

For the 2014 season, Pace places eighth in the NE-10 with 18.5 points per game, while seven other NE-10 teams are scoring 25 points or higher per game. Their third-down conversions are at 27 percent (27-99), which places dead last.

And, a staggering statistic is that opponents score 52.0 PPG against Pace. The Setters have allowed 312 points in total to be scored against them; no other team in the conference has allowed more than 200 points against themselves.

Currently, the Setters are virtually last in every category.

“We’ve got to celebrate the small victories. We’ve got to recognize that’s the new standard,” new Head Coach Andrew Rondeau said.

One of those small victories, Rondeau says, has been the defense’s work with blocked kicks. Pace leads the NE-10 conference in this statistic.

Eight sacks have been allowed against the team, putting Pace at second in the conference. Assumption and Pace are also tied with seven interceptions, right in the middle of the pack.

Rondeau acknowledged that the team has been left with a hole in the area of veteran leadership. With a whole new staff and 41 new players, the team was being built from the ground up.

“Everybody we play has a roster of 85 guys minimum,” coach Rondeau said. “Most people have a hundred; we’ve got 60-something.”

Nearly half of that roster now consists of freshmen, who have been forced to learn on the run, according to Rondeau. This has been a challenge for the team and contributes to the inconsistencies that have been seen, along with some injuries.

“Our number of offensive linemen is in the single-digits and those [players] go all the time,” Rondeau said. “We right now have two healthy quarterbacks on the roster. We’ve got so many young players who are stepping in and playing a lot.

However, all of these obstacles have not deferred the players from coveting that elusive smell of victory. The whole staff knows how badly everyone wants to see a winning football team. But Rondeau emphasized that it takes time.

He used the analogy of an overweight person; that person doesn’t just magically shed the excess weight, they need to work and get rid of it all.

“The small victories are everywhere,” Rondeau said. “It can be the second half of the [LIU] Post game, where our team took an adverse situation, and conquered adversity, and battled back. [The players] didn’t worry about the scoreboard, they just played. They got excited about the game; they removed the external influences of people challenging them for wins. They removed that and said, ‘Let’s just play.’”

Sometimes it isn’t easy to “stay the course,” as Rondeau and his staff saw this on Fri., Oct. 10 when the team took on Assumption and lost 52-0, a game that Rondeau sees as a set-back.

“People want to put it on a timetable, but there isn’t a timetable;” Rondeau said. “We’ll be good when we’re good.”