FERNDALE — Ferndale High football coach Ryan Dunlap admits that this isn’t the way he saw the season playing out, but there are still small battles that are being won.
At press time, the Eagles were 1-5 overall and 1-4 in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division.
“We didn’t anticipate this coming into the season. We have talent, we have returning starters at key positions, but we just haven’t played very well,” he said. “The kids are showing up, they’re here, they’re not running away from their responsibilities. We just have to get them to do the right things Friday night as a unit.”
There have been bright spots. Ferndale beat Hazel Park High 35-6 at home. There has also been strong play from the special teams and linebacker core according to Dunlap.
“Those guys are really stepping up and playing hard-nosed football,” Dunlap said.
The coach added that much of the problems stem from one or two missed assignments on a play, which prove to be costly.
“We’re improving here and there. We’re seeing it throughout the week, but we need Friday night to be a measuring stick,” he said. “Are we going to be the team that we thought could win a lot of games?”
Seniors Shaquan McGriff and Tamaull Donoho-Chunn believe the Eagles can be that team.
“The more intense we are in practice, the better we are in practice, and the better we play in games,” McGriff said. “We’re trying to get more of those days where we’re doing the right thing and all on the same page.”
Dunlap did commend his team’s dedication.
“These guys are here because they love football. They love playing the game, and the seniors realize that they never get a chance to play again,” Dunlap said. “They want to go out on a positive note. They want to compete with all these teams we see, and we hope they can do that.”
Catch the Eagles against Birmingham Seaholm at 7 p.m. Oct. 11 at home.