The Dodge City Red Demons have been gearing up all week for tonight’s final regular-season game, against the Liberal Redskins.
The game comes just a week after the Red Demons lost the Hatchet Game to Garden City by a score of 40-9.
Dodge City head coach Dave Foster said Wednesday the team has taken some time to recover from last week’s loss.
“Monday was (a) pretty ho-hum day,” Foster said. “We’ve got freshman and JV games going on, we more than anything talked to (the players) and then Tuesday’s practice: I would rate it as a D, (or a) D+.”
Foster said the team ended practice Tuesday with a heart-to-heart talk which focused on not letting external-factors affect how they practice and play.
Foster said he could already see on Wednesday that the talk had helped.
“The kids have come back today and it’s a completely different mentality,” Foster said. “For the seniors it stinks, because you know you didn’t win the Hatchet, and removed yourself from WAC championship, but at the same time if you want your legacy to be that we hung our heads and tanked it for the last couple games, it’d be a long couple of weeks.”
The Red Demons take on a Liberal team averaging over 28 points-per-game this season, but which is coming off a narrow 23-21 victory over Great Bend. Overall, the Redskins are 5-2 overall, but at 1-2 in WAC play have the same conference record the Red Demons have.
“(They’re) very athletic at the quarterback position, that’s their best runner, he’s one of the fastest kids in the WAC from track,” Foster said.
The Redskins are talented and young, Foster said, and will be a tough test for the Red Demons.
“They’re a very good football team that presents a lot of challenges on the ground and in the air, solid defensively: They haven’t given up a bunch of points this year,” Foster said. “It’ll take our A-game for us to be able to pull out the victory.”
Regardless of the outcome, Foster said he’s proud of the players on the team, especially for the level of vulnerability they choose to embrace.
“All our kids are on the same scholarship, and that’s none,” Foster said. “These kids choose to make themselves vulnerable and play the game when there’s a lot of people in communities and schools that want to nit-pick teams that aren’t successful. It’s good for people to be reminded that in no-way have any of them made themselves vulnerable. They don’t win and lose on Friday nights in front of people that have paid an admission-price.”
For that, Foster said he applauds every one of his players, day-in and day-out.
“There’s nobody that has the stringent demands of summer workouts, being in strength class, there’s no program that compares to that,” Foster said. “So I’m not gonna be critical of kids that have worked extremely-hard and lose some high school football games. At some point you gotta have a little perspective.”
Dodge City hosts Liberal High at 7 p.m. tonight in Memorial Stadium.