EPPING — The Epping-Newmarket football team has a bad taste in its mouth, which it is hoping to rinse away with a big win at Farmington-Nute tonight.
The Blue Devils (1-3) are hoping to bounce back after dropping last Friday’s game to Campbell, 41-6, while also avenging last year’s season-ending loss to Farmington-Nute (0-4). Coach Chuck Fitzmaurice said he knows his team can pull out the win if they get back to the fundamentals.
“We have to refocus on the little things,” he said. “Blocking and tackling and limiting mental mistakes.”
Picking up a win to secure some momentum entering its bye week would be nice for Epping-Newmarket, which is sitting at 1-3 in the Division III South Conference at the midpoint of the season. With potentially winnable games on the horizon, Fitzmaurice said the team has to stay focused and positive.
“The team has been responding well (to last week’s loss),” he said. “We’re having good practices. We’re moving some things around — not because anyone played good, bad or indifferent, just to try some different things. We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve.”
Fitzmaurice said the week started well when the junior varsity team exacted a measure of redemption against Campbell. Though they didn’t win, they played very competitively. That set the tone for a week of practice that has been good so far. Fitzmaurice expects that to carry through to tonight.
“We need to gang tackle,” he said. "We gang tackled really well in the first three games, then last week we had so many solo tackles it was ridiculous. Unfortunately, with a wide receiver and running back group as talented as Campbell has, if you’re in a lot of solo (tackle) situations, you are in trouble.”
Although a string of wins could surge the Blue Devils into the playoff picture, Fitzmaurice said the team cannot focus on the big picture for risk of losing sight of the task at hand.
“We never talk about playoffs until we get there,” he said. “We have had the conversation that we need to get a couple (wins) together to build momentum and positive mental progress.”
After tonight's game against the Tigers, the Blue Devils will begin preparing to host Raymond with the Spotted Turtle Trophy on the line on Oct. 15.
“We have to take it one game at a time,” Fitzmaurice said. “That’s the only way we’re going to do it. If you start looking ahead, you get lost.”