There is no other way around it: Sterling football needs a win.
Playoff berths are always a nice thing to think about, but in reality it is now about paying off their sacrifice and work to change things around with the program as they stand 1-4 overall and 0-2 in District 21-6A play heading into 7 p.m. tonight’s homecoming contest against La Porte at Stallworth Stadium.
The Rangers enter the matchup off of a disappointing 41-14 loss at Channelview last week and against a Bulldogs (2-3, 1-1) riding the high of a 20-14 win over rivals Deer Park.
In 2018, La Porte beat Sterling 26-0.
“We’re not as motivated as were to begin with, but working together we know that we can because we know we can do it if we work as a team,” senior Sterling safety Tayvion Haggerty said.
Yet, Haggerty recognizes how the team fell off last week after only trailing 17-7 at the break.
“It was as if we just weren’t clicking like we used to,” Haggerty said. “We have to win more now. La Porte is a good team – every team is a good team – we have some good things we can capitalize on them and they have some things they can capitalize on us. We just have to find ours first.”
RSS head coach Robert Toomer sees the team grinding, working and caring despite not being rewarded for its efforts.
“That’s what makes it disappointing for the kids,” Toomer said. “They are working with a purpose, grinding and going about things the right way. But like I tell them, win or lose character may change, but emotions may change. They are probably in their emotions right now.
“Just because you work hard, doesn’t guarantee you wins.”
Toomer was disappointed with the loss, especially with his team’s lack of consistency throughout the game.
“It’s one of those things, where we got a good ole’ butt whipping and we just have to find a way to sustain drives and get in the end zone,” Toomer said. “It could have easily been 21-14 at halftime, us. The kids played well in spurts. We just have to maintain.
“We didn’t play up to par.”
Toomer made not that the growing process can be a painful one and players need to understand where they are and where they should be.
That includes the removal of self-inflicted mistakes.
“We have come a long way, but it doesn’t show in the win-loss column,” Toomer said. “We had some crucial penalties which took a touchdown off the bar. We are going in at their five-yard line and fumbled the ball.”
Toomer is wary of La Porte’s threat to turning things around.
“They are coming off a high and what they do, they do it very well,” Toomer said. “They are more under the center, smashmouth football. It’s man-on-man. If you don’t like physicality, then you don’t play La Porte because they are all about physical football.”