Country Day, once winless, now two victories from the playoffs
Published October 16, 2013
BEVERLY HILLS — There was a time when this was a team with nothing more than a bleak outlook on the future — a winless squad on the brink of playoff elimination after just one third of the season had been complete.
There was a time, with an 0-3 record to its name, Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day was one loss from becoming an afterthought on the 2013 football landscape.
That time has come and gone.
“Truthfully, I’m more surprised we started 0-3 than I am that we’ve won four in a row,” coach Dan MacLean said after his guys improved to 4-3 on the season with a 42-7 victory against Flushing High on Oct. 12 at home. “We talked about taking things one game at a time, and I think we’ve seen the confidence slowly build to where it needs to be.”
Following a 20-14 setback to Detroit Loyola in the third week, MacLean said he still believed his group was a playoff team.
He said they had to reset, refocus and take the next six weeks one game at a time.
And he meant it.
“I believed it, too,” he said. “I think one of the things we were doing that was hurting us was pressing. Too many guys we’re trying to do too much by themselves. Once we learned to play as a group and learned that the less-flashy play can sometimes be more beneficial, things started turning.”
Country Day snapped the winless streak with a 42-0 shutout of Detroit Pershing.
The guys then beat Escanaba High 34-7 and Detroit Caser Chavez Academy 56-6 before taking on Flushing.
Country Day wasted little time taking control of the season’s seventh game.
Richard Wilson scored on two rushes in the first quarter, and Maurice Ways caught two touchdown passes in the second quarter to give the Yellowjackets a 29-0 lead by halftime.
Khalil Rivers scored in the third quarter, and Wilson capped the offensive output with his third touchdown in the fourth.
“I thought we really put things together the way we had to,” MacLean said. “The offense and defense really complimented each other.”
Tyler Wiegers passed for 317 yards and two scores during the win.
Ways finished with four catches, 113 yards and the two scores, while Wilson led the ground attack with 70 yards on nine carries.
Needing two wins in the final two weeks to earn a spot in the playoffs for the eighth consecutive season, Country Day is set to travel to Bellevue High at 7 p.m. Oct. 18.
“They are very explosive to the outside,” MacLean said of Belleville, which was 5-2. “They have three guys who can really run. We can’t give up the big play, or we’ll be in trouble.”
Country Day reached last season’s Division 4 state final before falling to Grand Rapids South Christian.
The Yellowjackets have beaten Belleville in each of the past two seasons.
“The confidence is back,” MacLean said. “We need two more wins to do the things we expected to do all season. We’ll take it one game at a time — the same way we have all year.”