A New Era – Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

gamestrat high school football sideline instant replay

After starting out 0-4 and being left for dead by almost everyone in the state of New Mexico, except for the people in our locker room; we managed to rattle off two wins in a row, the second coming against in-town rival, the Mayfield Trojans.

That was a key win for our young program. Was it a signature win? No. I’m not sure. But, it was a great one that showed we were on the right track. NMPreps.com, a site dedicated to covering NM high school football had us as a 10 point underdog and no one really gave us much of a chance. However, we played four full quarters for once, overcame a 14-0 deficit and won 28-21. A win like that makes a young team believe everything you’ve been trying to tell them the last four months. They listened to me, they have bought in, but it took a victory like that for them to have the “a-ha” moment. As a first year head coach, it is tough to gage where we are at sometimes; and just when I think we are arriving, last Friday happened…

The same way no one gave us a chance after we started 0-4; now everyone thought last Friday was going to be an automatic win and a three game win streak going into our bye week was a foregone conclusion. However, the Carlsbad Cavemen had other plans.

senior night

Coach Veliz and his family on Senior Night

Our district visitors from the North came-in, played better than us and walked away with a 41-34 win. To make matters even worse it was Senior Night. It was disheartening to say the least. The same website, NMpreps.com, who had us as a 10 point dog the week before, now had us as 10 point favorite. I have to admit, that scared the heck out of me. Of course you always try to take positives from everything. Our offense seems to be clicking at the right time and we overcame two 14 point deficits to take a 34-33 lead with just over 9 minutes to play. However, 22 plays and 9 minutes later, they scored and won the game by the aforementioned score.

There are many different ways to get over the disappointment of a loss. Of course, there are different types of losses.

When you are building from the ground up, it’s easier to take lumps because you know that you are working towards an upward goal and adversity is part of the growth. But, when you’ve made some strides and lose a game you were expected to win, it makes it a bit tougher to sell to the kids that we’re ok and it is all part of the process.

One of the best things I have read in years was Urban Meyer’s “Above The Line” last December. The most impressive thing about it is not his approach to football or his X’s and O’s, it is his culture and how they promote it and ingrain it within his players.

The biggest thing that stood out to me was the philosophy: E+R=O. He adopted it from Tim Kight, the founder of Focus3. Its brilliance can be found in its simplicity. In laymen’s terms, the event is really is not as important as your response to that event. That determines the outcome. Simple enough, huh?

Whether it is athletics or in life, events are sometimes bad, but it is our response to those outcomes that make them disastrous. If we take them in stride and use them as a learning experience, then our “outcome” becomes better and we are able to roll with the situation much easier. It was Rich Rodriguez who once said, “don’t let the same team beat you twice.” If your response to that last loss is negative and you let it dwell, then you’ll get beaten again by that same memory.

Read past A New Era blogs

There was a bit of a hangover this morning from last Friday. But our kids are tough and resilient and I know they’ll battle back. I educated them on the E+R=O principle this morning and I would like to believe they received that message. Bye week, then on to our next challenge October 20th. God, I love football.


Scott Veliz


by Scott Veliz
Oñate High School Head Football Coach
Follow @Coach_Veliz

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.