Has last year’s playoff loss motivated the team for the upcoming postseason?

After a disappointing loss last season in the championship game, Notre Dame’s senior boys Div.1 football team has stormed back this year, and sits in top spot with an undefeated 5-0 record.

With their scoring differential sitting at 230 points for and only nine against in their first five games, it’s clear that they’ve bounced back in a big way and are indeed the top team in Calgary this season.

Head Coach David Diluzio commented on his team’s excellent start:

“We look at every year as kind of a new start and we’re excited how things have started thus far, but our philosophy is, we’re only as good as our next game. Even though we’ve come out on top in our previous four games, there’s been lots of things to correct, and we know that this is a process and that we need to keep getting better.”

That philosophy put in place by Diluzio and the rest of the coaching staff Running back Tyler Chow runs the ball in game action Oct. 12 against the Bishop Grandin Ghosts.

Photo by Lucas Silvaseems entrenched in the majority of player’s minds, but quarterback Brett Hunchak looks at it in a different way.

Hunchak started as quarterback last season when Notre Dame was the No. 1 team heading into the finals, but were upset by the under-dog Bishop O’Byrne team.

He sees last year’s loss as a big motivation to win it all this year in the playoffs.

“I think in every game, I’m thinking about that loss. I think that it kind of brought us back to reality. It really picked us up and motivated us,” said Hunchak. “We’re not just doing it for us, we’re doing it for all the seniors last year, and getting it back for them.”

However, defensive back Codie Abrams, who was also a member of last year’s team, has adopted the coach’s philosophy and moved on from last year.

“One of the big things we say is our next game is always the biggest because what’s happened in the past or what’s going to happen in the future doesn’t matter,” says Abrams.

Running back Brandon Blondeau races up field with room to run after getting the handoff from quarterback Brett Hunchak.

Photo by Lucas SilvaWhether the players share the motivations of Hunchak or Abrams, it’s clear that the Notre Dame Pride  the No. 2 ranked team in the province  is on top of their game and playing with tons of confidence.

Hunchak added, “We’re a very close team, and I think we’re all confident in each other  second group, first group, whoever. I’m very confident in our coaches and that really helps us out too.”

After beating Bishop Grandin on Oct. 12, Notre Dame Pride have two games left in the regular season. The first will be played on Oct. 19 against St. Francis and the second on Oct. 26 against Western Canada.

Following those games the playoffs will commence. Although the Pride is playing well right now, last year is a harsh reminder that anything can happen.

Head Coach Diluzio emphasized the fact that his team needs to stay motivated, keep working hard to prepare for the playoffs, and avoid complacency.

“I’m sure that the kids have wanted to feel comfortable, and that’s something we try to do in our program is trying to get kids out of their comfort level, and try to really stress to them that you’re only as good as your last game and you’re only as good as your last practice,” says Diluzio. “It’s something that we’re aware of; it’s something that we want to continue to battle and work through.”

lsilva@cjournal.ca