When asked about next season, Raider head coach Randell Owens came to a pretty quick conclusion after a 2-8 campaign this year.
“It’s got to be better,” said Owens, who endured his worst record in his nine years as a head coach. “It’s absolutely got to be better.”
The way he figures, it would be hard for 2009 to go much worse than this fall did.
Madison County’s toughest season on the gridiron in nearly 10 years came to an end Friday with a 19-7 loss to Clarke Central in the rain.
Owens said he has mixed emotions after wrapping any season, even if it’s the two-win variety.
On one hand, he’ll enjoy the down time. But on the other, he’ll probably get restless again once a week passes.
“Usually, I go into probably my biggest depression of the year when the season’s over up through Christmas, the holidays, just adjusting to not being in the season,” he said.
The coach, who completed his fifth year at Madison County, said his team will take advantage of off-season time in the weight room, where “we should reap tremendous benefits.”
Also, most of Madison County’s starters return next year as the 2009 team will try to atone for this year’s ill-fated campaign.
The first order of business next year is stop the seven-game losing streak on which this season ended.
Madison County tried to rid itself of that in Friday’s finale against playoff-bound Clarke Central (9-1) and even led the Gladiators 7-0 before falling 19-7.
Raider head coach Randell Owens said he felt his squad matched the Gladiators’ intensity in this game even though it was playing only for pride. If the perception is that Clarke Central had an off night, the Raider coach said there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation.
“I think our defense might have had something to do with that,” Owens said.
Now, Madison County heads into the off-season for the second-straight year without a state playoff berth. During that time, coaches will revise the depth chart, make plans for conditioning and weight training, and strategize for what they hope is a more successful 2009.
But it doesn’t sound like Owens is too eager to wait nine more months for football.
“You’d like to start again, maybe take a week off, and start up again next week,” he said. “The break is too long.”
•The Madison Co. football banquet is Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. at the MCHS cafeteria. All players, cheerleaders and touchdown club members are admitted free. The cost is $5 for everyone else. The middle school will hold its banquet Monday.