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Royal Oak

October 3, 2012

Goddard confident his Shrine football team will make the postseason

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Shrine quarterback Connor Francek makes a pass against Cabrini Sept. 30. The Knights are 4-2 and must win two of their final three games.

ROYAL OAK — Grandkids have a way turning any moment around, and in this particular moment, John Goddard needed it.

As he walked off the field at Royal Oak Shrine, just minutes removed from what he would call one of the toughest losses of his career, the long-time Knights coach was mobbed from every angle by a handful of those calling him “grandpa.”

“Us coaches can’t sulk, either,” he said with a smile after collecting his share of hugs, kisses and high fives. “We’ve got a 24-second rule with this team. You’ve got 24 seconds to feel sorry for yourself after a game like this, then it’s time to move on.”

Goddard spoke Sept. 30, on a sunny, warm fall day that brought a forecast of trouble for his guys during a homecoming date with Allen Park Cabrini.

Leading 7-0 from the first quarter into the fourth, Shrine allowed Cabrini to tie the game at 7-7. After retaking the advantage on a Joe Nagle score with 4:58 remaining, Cabrini found the end zone twice in the final 2:56 to steal the win and eliminate Shrine from a chance at the Prep Bowl.

“This was probably the toughest and most frustrating loss I’ve ever had,” Goddard said following the 21-14 final. “We served this game up to them on a silver platter. … You have to respect every opponent and give them credit for what they do. But I, truthfully, don’t feel like Cabrini did anything in this game to beat us. It’s very frustrating to lose a game like this that meant so much.”

The loss dropped Shrine to 4-2, forcing the need for two wins in the final three weeks to continue what has become an impressive playoff streak.

“When you’re trying to represent a program and stand for what we believe we do, the playoffs are a must,” Goddard said. Shrine has missed the postseason just once since 1999. “We’re going to make it. It’s not going to be easy, and we know we’re going to have to regroup and get on track, but this is a playoff team in my mind.”

The trek certainly won’t be easy for the Knights, who fell to 4-2.

Shrine travels to play at Madison Heights Bishop Foley (3-3) at 7 p.m. Oct. 5, and then hosts Detroit Loyola (6-0) at 2 p.m. Oct. 13 before closing the year out against Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett (5-1) at 7 p.m. Oct. 19.

“Nothing easy about it,” Goddard said. “We’re going to learn from this, and then we have to move on. We can’t afford to feel sorry for ourselves or anything like that. It’s my job to start the process, and the kids have to do the same. It all goes back to that 24-second rule we have to abide by, especially this week.”

For more on the Cabrini game, visit our website at www.candgnews.com.
 

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.