Originally Published: Sep 11, 2009 7:5 PM CDT
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer
OKLAHOMA CITY -- As the Casady Cyclones practiced under a cloudy sky, senior quarterback Cale Shivers took a short breather on the sidelines. The golden hair hated against his head was an indication that it was a much needed break, but Shivers was in high spirits.
And, why not?
His Cylcones team is 2-0, both nail-biting wins occurring over state champions – All Saints Episcopal from Texas and Heritage Hall, last year’s Class 2A champions.
With Crooked Oak awaiting the Cyclones on Friday night, Casady could tie last year’s win total in its first three games of the season. “We want to kind of get a blowout,” joked Shivers. “Less drama.”
After their dynamic start, the Cyclones ooze a confidence and team chemistry that was in short supply last season. But the team won’t rest on its early season accomplishments. “We were so used to losing that we got sick of it,” said the quarterback. “We found a way [to win]. A play here or a play there and we’re 0-2 instead of 2-0.”
Helping keep the team grounded is first year head coach Koby Scoville. A new coaching staff for Casady has led to a new attitude for the team. “We’re working a lot harder than last year but we’re having fun doing it,” said senior co-captain Bentley Williams. “We’re not dreading practice anymore.”
In practice, Scoville and company have made a definite approach to have more direct teaching from player to coach. “Each kid gets individual attention from a coach who just coaches his position,” said Scoville. “I think that’s helped out tremendously.”
Behind the whistle
Scoville at Casady School in 2001 as a seventh grade football head coach and math teacher. He was an assistant at the junior varsity and varsity level through fall 2006. After a year away from the school, Scoville was invited back in 2008 and offered the head coaching job last spring, returning to Casady full-time.
His first two games as head coach were decided by ten points, a 24-21 win over All Saints and a 7-0 double-overtime win over Heritage Hall. Good news on two counts: Casady has two wins and Scoville’s heart can handle the stresses of coaching. “It’s exciting,” he said. “It’s why we do this job.”
And it’s been a job well done. “We’re 2-0. That’s as good as you can get I think,” he said. “These kids are working their butts off, doing what you ask, and it’s paying off for them.”
Scoville graduated from Deer Creek Edmond in 1994, playing quarterback and defensive back. But Scoville attained most of his football knowledge while playing at Northwestern Oklahoma State University.
In his time there, the Rangers were taught a system that maximized their practice performances, a system Scoville brought to the Casady program this season.
Mental Toughness Extra Effort – MTXE
The first the Cyclones see walking into their locker room is a board, tagged with red, blue and black marks. Across the top it reads “Mental Toughness Extra Effort,” that’s MTXE for short.
Each Casady player gets a grade from 0-2 after each practice. Those that put in the strongest efforts get a full two, while absent players receive a zero. At the end of the week, an average score is tabulated to let each player know where they stand.
“It’s something every kid can do,” said Scoville. “We feel if you’re mentally tough and give extra effort on every play, then the scoreboard will take care of itself. And it has.”
So far, his players have received largely positive grades. Whether it’s a byproduct of team success or the cause of it, it is clear that the board’s message is the coaching staff’s overriding message. “We talk to them about their attitudes and efforts,” Scoville said. “We keep the X’s and O’s fairly simple.”
Combine that philosophy with an experienced group and you have a winning formula perfectly capable of handling those pressure-packed situations. “Pretty much our whole team has had playing experience, at least two or three years of experience,” said Williams, a wide receiver. “We’ve all been there, done that.”
Next Step: Win Number Three
As far as the program is concerned, those two wins are exactly that.
Two wins. That’s all.
“We’re not looking too far ahead,” said Shivers. “We got Crooked Oak this week. We don’t really care about next week right now.”
“We certainly don’t want to get a big head and think we’ve arrived,” Scoville said. “The first two games went the way we want, but week three needs to go right. Then, week four.”
And if those winning ways continue, as will a dream season for Scoville. “To have early success just solidifies everything you’ve been talking to them about,” he said. “I wouldn’t dream of doing anything else.”
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