By Jordan Kroeger, SunCoast Sports
ENGLEWOOD — Lemon Bay coach D.J. Ogilvie was a man a few words following Saturday’s loss to Port Charlotte, abstaining from reporters’ questions after a 34-6 loss.
He wasn’t mad, just disappointed in the Manta Rays’ performance, frustrated by their mistakes.
But mostly, in his team’s effort.
“The biggest thing is I didn’t think we played real hard and that’s really irritating to me,” Ogilvie said earlier this week. “I always take pride in my team having the best effort on the field and we didn’t. That’s a thing we take pride in in our program and it wasn’t there on Saturday.”
It may not have been there on Saturday, but it’s sure been the focus this week in practice as Lemon Bay prepares for tonight’s visit to Estero. Whether it’s been on the practice field when the sky’s been clear or in the gym when the rain’s poured down, the Manta Rays are ready to redeem themselves against the Wildcats, who they defeated 26-14 in 2015.
Turnovers were the big killer against the Pirates. The Manta Rays committed three in the first quarter that quickly put them in a 17-0 hole.
Two of those were courtesy of fumbles by running back Brenden Shuman in the first five minutes of the game, but Ogilvie continues to have full confidence in his senior captain. After all, he knows Shuman can make a big impact in a game, and hopes he does against Estero.
“We went back to him (against Port Charlotte) and gave him the ball to try and get confidence in him,” Ogilvie said. “He’s our starting left slot, he blocks real hard and he’s a senior. He’s never, ever fumbled in the past so I don’t know, but we’re going to keep running him and giving him the ball and give him another go.”
The same goes for the quarterback duo of sophomore Hayden Wolff and junior Victor Mellor, both of whom threw interceptions against Port Charlotte, and will continue to split time under center. Wolff took most of the snaps against Port Charlotte, completing 6 of 13 passes for 96 yards, but besides the interception most of his passes were either overthrown or dropped by his receivers.
“He has a lot of confidence, he just missed a throw and made a bad read (on the interception) but the rest of the game I thought he played really well,” Ogilvie said. “He played with composure, with confidence. One good thing about Hayden is he has a short memory. We went back and ran the same routes the very next series and he completed it so he’s going to be fine. He’s going to be a very good football player.”
He’ll need to be against Estero based on what the Wildcats have shown on film. Estero runs a 4-3 defense but blitzes guys all over the field, something Ogilvie says might give his offensive line trouble with its blocking scheme.
That means Lemon Bay will need to be sound offensively, to go along with a better effort from a week ago. The Manta Rays can have all the confidence in the world, but if they don’t bring those other two keys tonight, the same mistakes will rear their heads again.
“We can be a good football team, but if we make mistakes and play like we did on Saturday, we’re not going to win too many games,” Ogilvie said.
They’re hoping tonight is win number one.