Tuesday , August 12, 2014 - 12:26 PM
CLEARFIELD – It might seem compelling for a school to schedule Clearfield High as its homecoming game based on the Falcons’ recent history on the gridiron.
Clearfield won just two games in 2013 and hasn’t posted a winning season since 2004.
For first-year Clearfield coach Andre Dyson, such a decision would actually be welcomed.
“I hope everyone comes in here laughing at us, that Clearfield is everyone’s homecoming game,” Dyson said. “I hope I’m everyone’s homecoming game because I’ll come ruin (their) homecoming. I want (them) to have a sad homecoming.”
Dyson, who graduated from Clearfield before moving on to the University of Utah and eventually the National Football League – playing with the Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks and New York Jets – knows what can happen when a team is underestimated.
“One thing I know is if a team comes in and they underestimate you, it’s hard to turn that on,” Dyson said. “If your whole year you’re, ‘Yeah, we’re playing Clearfield, they’re not very good,’ or whoever you’re playing, and then all of a sudden you get in games and it’s not that same team you thought you were playing, it’s hard to say, ‘Guys, now we have to play harder.’ Mentally, you haven’t told yourself that all week.’ I want people to think that, honestly.”
Dyson arrived at Clearfield last December after a successful season as defensive coordinator at Weber High. Despite Clearfield’s recent misfortune, Dyson believes things can be different in part because of what he saw take place at Weber.
“They hadn’t won a game in two and a half years,” Dyson said of Weber. “Everyone was kind of saying the same thing (as here), ‘These kids can’t do this, these kids can’t do that.’ But what I found out early was they had a lot of talented kids. It was just a matter of somebody believing in them, somebody leading them in the right direction and then giving them something to actually believe in. That’s the same thing here.”
Weber went from having lost 23 straight to starting the 2013 season with four wins in its first five games. The Warriors finished the season with five wins overall and just narrowly missed out on the fourth and final playoff spot from Region 1.
According to Dyson, the realization that there really wasn’t such a talent discrepancy between teams in Region 1 helped tremendously.
“They realized, ‘We’re just as good as all these other teams,’” Dyson said. “A lot of the other teams in this area or the state have talented players, but high school is not that big of a jump. This kid might be better than this kid, but it’s not like an SEC school playing a Big Sky team. It’s not that big of a jump.
“Yeah, teams have better players – one or two. If you see the recruiting and people that sign at colleges, yeah, there’s one or two from each school. East sometimes, Bingham sometimes sends off more than a handful, but it’s not where it’s all these teams sending off five or six or seven guys to colleges.”
Without the talent disparity that one sees in college football, success really boils down to effort and teamwork, according to Dyson.
“Yes, they might have one guy that’s better than all of us… there’s always going to be that one team or one player, but if you can play as a team – all 11 guys together – you can beat that one guy.”
Dyson remains uncertain about what his 2014 depth chart will look like. As a brand new coach installing brand new schemes, Dyson wants to take a wait-and-see approach with his players before making any definitive roster decisions.
“We’re still open,” Dyson said. “We’re giving a lot of people an opportunity to prove themselves – a lot of people the opportunity to show what they can do.”
For Dyson, level of commitment is what he’s really trying to determine at this point.
“To me, it’s not all about talent,” Dyson said. “You really have some guys that are talented, but what can they do mentally? Are they accountable? Are they here every day? Are they doing the right things on and off the field?... That’s our main focus is trying to figure out the kids who are committed on and off the field because the kids that are committed on and off the field, they’ll give it to you for four downs and that’s what you need. You need it for four downs… a full game. You can’t just have a kid who wants to play for a half, a quarter, two plays. That’s what we’re trying to figure out.”
Clearfield opens the season Aug. 22 at Roy at 7 p.m.
Contact reporter Ryan Comer at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @RyanComerSe and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RyanComerSe
CLEARFIELD 2014 SCHEDULE
Friday, Aug. 22 – at Roy – 7 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 29 – Bonneville – 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 5 – at Layton (at Weber State University) – 5 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 12 – at Bountiful – 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 19 – Woods Cross – 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 26 – Highland – 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 3 – at Cyprus – 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 10 – at East – 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 15 – Kearns – 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 24 – Viewmont – 7 p.m.
Sign up for e-mail news updates.