The Plainview Indians, under the leadership of first-year head coach Chris Berus, begin the Class 2A playoffs Friday night at home when they welcome the Washington Warriors to Plainview Stadium.
The Indians dropped their first game under Berus to the Elgin Owls 28-26 and then reeled off eight wins in a row before losing to the Davis Wolves 37-14 in week 10. The loss to Elgin (8-2), ranked No. 9 in Class 3A, could have ended differently with successful PAT conversions.
Besides Plainview, only Prague and Heritage Hall played top-ranked Davis closer.
Berus is confident the Indians will be able to put that loss to Davis behind them and focus on the Warriors.
“As a coach, you’re never totally satisfied unless you win them all,” Berus said. “But we’ve stressed all year the importance of getting better each week. The players understood going into the Davis game that they were a quality ball club, and I believe they’ve put that behind them. We viewed film on Saturday and worked to see where we can do a better job. It’s big that we have a first-round home playoff game. We believe if we keep our focus on ourselves and our development, everything will fall into place.
“This has been a great year for me as the new head coach for Plainview. We’ve had no problems, and we’ve had a successful season. We finished second in our district, and we believe we’ve been able to make changes even from our losses that will make us better.
Berus is satisfied with the adjustment players and coaches have made to his coaching philosophy. And he’s hopeful it will carry on for some time to come.
“This is the kind of season that we can build on,” Berus said. “I believe we’ve set our expectations. We’ve established that we’re going to do things the right way and that we’re going to work extra hard. We can see the key ingredients of the policy being incorporated down into the junior high program.
“The high school players have bought into our philosophy, and they’ve done everything we’ve asked of them. As we bring in new people next year they will understand what will be expected of them. It’s really all about working hard, doing the right things and then focusing on the elements that can make you and your team better.”
The Warriors will be a solid test for the Indians. Berus, his coaching staff and his players have been preparing hard to win their first home playoff game under his watch.
“Washington is a good option team,” Berus said. “They run the ball well, and they have some excellent wide receivers to throw to. Defensively they run out of a 3-4 set. They’ve very disciplined. Coach (Dennis) McCray has been there more than 15 years, and they’ve developed into a good team under his leadership. They’ve gotten better as the season went along. And right now they’re playing pretty well.
Page 2 of 2 - “Being at home come playoff time is where you want to be. We’ve focused all year on getting better every time we hit the field. Hopefully we’ll be better this week than we were last week against Davis. A good season is acceptable. But we coaches are always striving for that great season.”
Washington is 6-4, and winners of five straight.
Washington at Plainview
¦ Class 2A first round, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Plainview Stadium
¦ Records: Washington 6-4, Plainview 8-2
¦ AP Rankings: Plainview No. 7
¦ Radio: KKAJ-FM 95.7