CLAYTON — His football team was only three games into its schedule.
But, after opening with three straight losses, First State Military coach Jorge Young thought the season was starting to get away from the Bulldogs.
So Young had a meeting with his players to see if he couldn’t get them back on track.
“My main thing was just trusting the process,” said the second-year head coach. “You don’t win on Fridays, you win on Monday through Thursdays.”
Coincidence or not, First State’s renewed focus in practice has helped the Bulldogs post back-to-back victories. First State (0-3 Dist. II, 2-3 overall) will take that modest winning streak into a tough Class 1A, District II contest at Seaford (2-1, 3-1) today at 7 p.m.
Probably the most impressive thing for the Bulldogs is that, after scoring a total of only 19 points in their first three games, they’ve put up 75 points in wins over Christiana and Dickinson.
First State has only six seniors on a 37-player roster that includes 13 sophomores and 11 freshmen.
“I think the guys are really growing,” said Young. “I’ve got a really young team. They’re learning how to win. That’s one of the major things we’ve going through.
“A lot of it is just confidence. We’ve moved some guys around trying to put guys in the best position. It’s starting to work.”
Just as it was for other first-year coaches, having his first season with the Bulldogs be during the pandemic was especially difficult for Young. The 30-year-old former Woodbridge High assistant didn’t really get to have an off-season with his new players.
First State went 1-6 last fall after winning its final game of the season.
“It was very tough,” said Young. “I really feel like, in some respects, this is year one. I have all brand-new kids and this is the first off-season I’ve had with them.”
As a Woodbridge grad, facing Seaford feels very familiar to Young. The quarterback from his playing days, Austin Perry, is now an assistant coach with the Blue Jays.
Young said the two men usually talk football every week but this week is a little different.
“I’ve been trying to avoid him all week,” Young joked.
The contest also has ramifications in the newly-formed Class 1A as teams vie for DIAA state tournament berths.
Class 1A was designed for newer programs as well as ones that were struggling to be competitive. Young’s hope is that First State doesn’t have to stay there forever.
“Originally, I wasn’t excited because I’m a competitor,” Young said about being in Class 1A. “I want to play the best. But this level of competition, where we are right now as a program, I think it’s working out for the best.
“I don’t want to be in here too long. We’re just going to keep working hard every day, trying to get better. That’s all we can do.”
Battle of unbeatens
Woodbridge hosts Caravel today at 7 p.m. in the first big showdown in the Class 2A District III. Both teams are 2-0 in district games, 5-0 overall.
The Blue Raiders have scored just six points in each of their last two contests but won both because their defense posted shutouts.
Woodbridge has won its last three meetings with the Buccaneers, limiting them to one touchdown in three of the four games.
Quarterback Nick Richardson, who spent his freshman season at Smyrna, leads a Caravel offense that has scored at least 30 points in all five of its games this year, though.
Tonight’s game is being livestreamed on 302 Sports.
In a matchup of winless squads, Caesar Rodney goes to Cape Henlopen tonight having won four straight over the Vikings. ... 302 Sports is also showing the Sussex Central-Dover game tonight. ... The Senators are 1-7 against the Golden Knights in their last eight meetings. ... Dover and Seaford are both celebrating Homecoming tonight. ... If the Blue Jays get their fourth win of the season tonight, they would match their victory total for the last three years combined. ... Going into the weekend, there are seven football teams in the state that are still winless.