PDT Sports Editor
Eight games, eight victories and four more to go to perfection.
The hype was high before the season began for the semi-professional Kentucky Warriors of the Northern Frontier Football League, but with two-thirds of the season in the rear-view mirror, the hype seems deserved.
With a bye week this weekend, the Warriors had a chance to rest and refocus before they take on the Tri-State Sharks July 28.
“It has very much been a recovery week and a week for brain exercise rather than physical,” Kentucky coach Dan Polcyn said. “We have played something like eight of the past 10 weeks so the guys needed a break.”
Though the team was successful the first three weeks with an average margin of victory of almost 22 points, Polcyn said his guys faced and overcame challenges the last four or five weeks.
“Over that time the guys have been challenged and grown past criticizing each other,” the coach said. “There’s a lot of camaraderie and like most families there are complications but they have come together and it has worked this year.”
Leadership can help cover or solve many problems in sports and one player Polcyn has seen embrace the leadership role, at least from an offensive perspective, is quarterback David Mallory.
“I have watched David come so far in the two and a half years I have known him,” Polcyn said. “Playing ball has helped him become a good player but he has become a better man.”
Last week against the Cincinnati Falcons, Mallory completed 83 percent of his passes for 113 yards and two passing touchdowns. In that contest, the offense averaged 5.33 yards per play.
Under the direction of Polcyn, Mallory has blossomed in the Warriors offensive system that focuses on a specific style of play.
“We have different schemes for different situations and we focus on execution of a specific style of play,” Polcyn said. “It comes back to doing the handful of things that we do, and doing those handful of things well rather than doing a lot of different things poorly.”
The trick to the Warriors success has been simple, according to Polcyn. The flawless record has been a product of focus.
“Going undefeated will take care of itself if we focus on what is directly ahead and not what is down the road,” he said.
Of course, a steady hand at the helm has helped the Warriors convert the hype into results as the No. 3 team in the Eastern Red Power Rankings of Americanfootballnews.com.
“I really try not to get too excited,” Polcyn said. “I used to get really excited when I was younger, but I find if I keep the excitement inside I get better performances out of my players. Those guys get really excited and somebody has to keep a cool head.”
The mixture of camaraderie, growth and leadership has made the Warriors a feared team in semi-professional football. Although Polcyn’s policy is to keep a level-head on the sideline, he doesn’t deny the excitement of the 2012 season and the idea of going undefeated.
“Is it a great season? It’s been incredible,” he said.
Bob Strickley may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 203, or firstname.lastname@example.org.