Mount Carmel coach Frank Lenti can’t remember the last time his Caravan had a 1-2 record.
Further, he couldn’t care less.
“Doesn’t matter,” he said. “Nobody gives you a trophy for the front end of the season.”
What he does care about is how they’ve gotten to be 1-2. And if Monday morning’s conversation was any indication of what’s going to happen at practice in the days leading up to Friday’s annual showdown against rival St. Rita, there aren’t going to be a whole lot of “atta boys” handed out.
Lenti was sharp. Pointed. Kinda mad, actually.
“It’s really simple,” he said. “The kids need to start listening to the coaches, and not their families and friends and all of the social media with everybody telling them how wonderful they are.
“We’re going to look at some effort in practice. Our kids, some of them don’t know what they don’t know. Some of them think they’re practicing hard all the time and they’re not. There may be some lineup changes.”
Anthony Thompson appears safe. Save a fumble that ended a really good chance to score, the junior quarterback played well in Friday’s stunning 33-14 loss to Providence. He completed 3-of-6 passes for 52 yards.
Junior running back A.J. Lewis appears safe, too. He rushed for 50 yards out of Mount Carmel’s split-back veer formation and got a passing grade from Lenti.
But if every mistake the Caravan made Friday was a horror movie to watch, there probably were enough of them to get Lenti to Halloween. In the first half alone:
The punter kicked the ball straight up in the air.
Face mask and roughing-the-passer penalties aided a Providence TD.
The kick returner fumbled the ball twice on the same play, giving the ball back to the Celtics, who kicked a field goal.
A perfect pass on fourth down was dropped in the end zone.
A personal foul kept a Providence drive alive, and the Celtics scored again.
The longest drive of the half ended with a fumble at the Providence 20.
Only a 76-yard interception return by Nick Wheeler kept the half from being a complete disaster. It could have provided the spark the Caravan needed going into the second half. But it wasn’t.
“It’s all about effort and execution,” Lenti said. “Pretty simple stuff. We had the ball 16 of the 24 minutes in the first half. In regard to that, we wanted to keep our offense on the field and keep their offense off the field.
“But we dropped a touchdown pass. We’re moving in for a score and we fumble the ball on an exchange. We potentially left 14 points on the field in the first half. Realistically, you have to give credit Providence. They played a great game. But we didn’t.”
I’ve got 11 state titles, including the last two, that say Lenti will get things together in plenty of time to make a 29th consecutive state playoff appearance.
Like he says, nobody gives you a trophy in September.
“We never set a goal to go undefeated,” Lenti said. “You’re dealing with high school kids, and all of the hormones and problems and things they have going on with friends, girlfriends and all the other good stuff that invades their extra time and extra space.
“I’m going to sit down with the captains and tell them, ‘This is your team. Stop waiting for the coaches to come up with miraculous plays.’ The biggest thing you have to overcome today is it’s so much about me, me, me. We’ve been very successful because we’ve made it a ‘we’ thing, not a ‘me’ thing.”
Sounds like it’s time for a buy-in.