ROCKPORT, Ind. (WEHT) – South Spencer may have finished 2020 with a 2-8 record, but for many of the Rebels, it was a step in the right direction.
It was the first year for head coach Jeff Daming, who is trying to guide South Spencer to its first winning season since 2013. Returning to that winning culture will take time, so Daming has gone back to basics to help lift the Rebels out of the basement.
The second-year coach has devoted more time to film study with his group, helping them learn the game’s foundation before they take the field. He’s also committed the Rebels to the weight room. It’s all about preparing the team off the field so that they’re prepared for when they step on.
“It’s a long process. We were in a pretty big hole,” said senior quarterback Jackson Raaf. “I think the last couple years we’ve done some stuff behind the scenes that we needed to do before we even thought about winning ball games with discipline, classroom, practice and stuff like that. Those are the things that people don’t see. They see the 2-8 seasons, but I think you’ve got to take care of those things first before you even start winning ball games.”
“The kids at South Spencer have always worked hard; I think what we’ve done is work a little smarter,” Daming said. “We needed to increase our football IQ, and I think that’s where a lot of it went. Strength and conditioning has been great here forever, but we had a renewed effort in there.”
Senior running back James Vaughn is hoping those measures pay dividends when the Rebels open up the season on Aug. 20 against North Posey.
“We hate going out and the crowd being like, ‘Oh, you guys aren’t good.’ I’m ready to see with this first game how it develops, and everyone will see that maybe they are about it this year,” Vaughn said. “We’re all anxious to see what the season holds for us. It’s kind of bad seeing that since we’ve been in school that we’ve let the program go down, but we’re ready to pick it back up now.”