Team looks for strong start to Sectional play

Mya-Lee Jackson, Staff Writer

After last week’s victory against Chesterton, Coach Seiss was congratulated for winning his 50th game coaching at Merrillville High School. 

It was apparent that Seiss didn’t even realize that this was his 50th victory, and acknowledged that this wouldn’t be possible without the players and their dedication. 

“Didn’t even know it was number 50,” Coach Seiss said. “To be honest, I am more proud that our team has been able to have an undefeated season since 1992. I might get credit for the wins in the record book, but I am more happy about what our team was able to accomplish this year, and things like that. So for our kids to be able to win a conference championship and have an undefeated season that’s a special thing.”

Although that calls for a celebration, the Pirates held off the celebration and got too work preparing for the first opponent they will be facing in the playoffs – Crown Point. 

“One thing we are doing to prepare is not making mental mistakes,” Senior Silas Mathis said. “Making sure we are crisp on everything we do. We played them in week three and won by 50. It’s now week 10, so they are a different team now.”

The Pirates are not only scouting, and watching film, but also acknowledging some of their weaknesses and working on them. 

“From a defensive standpoint, we just want to make sure that we have good debt in every position,” Coach Seiss said. “Just developing some of the guys that are behind some of the starters. Our biggest issue this year has been playing zone pass defense. 

“We have been working on those concepts this week. And then offensively just cleaning up some things, and some mistakes we have had over the past few weeks.”

It is clear that the Pirates are not overlooking any team that they have played before or judging any team by the record they hold.

“There is not necessarily a specific team we are focusing on because anything can happen in the tourney,” Mathis said. “Due to the weather, sickness, or even skill level anyone can lose. So us as a team we aren’t really looking ahead. We take it game by game and prepare for the task in front of us.”

Coach Seiss agrees.

“We have been lucky that we maintained pretty decent health, so we are coming into the tournament relatively healthy and fresh,” he  said. “I think the biggest obstacle we have is just making sure we respect each week’s opponent. 

Football is a team sport, but players are also reflecting on what they could do better at individually.

“I am just perfecting my craft every day,” University of Michigan recruit Kenneth Grant said. “Really, I need to work on being dominant every play consistently on both sides of the ball.”

The last two years, the Pirates have come up short of the goal of the State title game. This year the Pirates are going at it strong.

“This year us as a team, we are really focused on that fifth game, going to Lucas Oil, and winning a state championship,” Mathis said. “Especially us seniors, we can’t come up short again.”