Bobcats look to continued winning ways in playoffs

For the second year in a row, the Glenn Bobcats are champions of the Central Piedmont 4A Conference, finishing with a 7-2 record in the regular season.

Bobcats look to continued winning ways in playoffs
November 10
14:03 2021

For the second year in a row, the Glenn Bobcats are champions of the Central Piedmont 4A Conference, finishing with a 7-2 record in the regular season. The Bobcats won their first-round playoff game against Providence 7-3 and will take on Myers Park of Charlotte in the second round tomorrow night.

Bobcat coach Antwon Stevenson had high hopes for his squad this season based on the positives he saw during the spring season and the weapons he had coming back. With a full offseason under their belts, the bar was set high by the coaching staff for the players and they have lived up to expectations.

“We had pretty high aspirations and expectations because we had a lot of seniors in this group,” said Stevenson about his team. “They have been through the tough times in 2020 with the COVID and playing in the spring and winning the conference, but playoffs not going the way we wanted them to. We had a lot of motivation going into the summer workouts.”

Playing in the spring was a double-edged sword for Stevenson and the Bobcats. He says there were some benefits, but also there were some negatives as well.

“It hurt in some aspects and it helped in others,” he said. “I think what helped us and what made us better this year is with the guys leaving and early enrolling in college, we were able to get some of the younger guys on the field and get them a lot more experience last year.

“As far as going into the summer, the kids were just coming off the season and with that being said, some of them were burnt out. It was a few guys that didn’t even come back around until the end of July and there were some questions whether or not some were even going to play. We have about three or four linemen that didn’t even play.”

Glenn got off to a hot start to the season, winning six of their first seven games. Heading into the cross-town rivalry matchup with East Forsyth, confidence was high, and Stevenson knew what was at stake for that game.

“We expected to win, just like any and every game,” Stevenson said about the game. “We have gotten past the ‘old Glenn’ for lack of a better term, so our expectations in every game is to win, no matter who we are playing.  

“You could point to a lot of different things and if one of those things go our way, I think we come out victorious, but what that did was humble us a lot going into that last game of the regular season and now into the playoffs. We were riding high and had already won five or six games in a row, so going into that game and then unfortunately losing that game kind of put things back into perspective before going into the playoffs.”

Stevenson doesn’t think his team was overconfident during the East Forsyth game; instead he feels some of his players were trying to play ‘hero ball’ and win the game all by themselves.  

“They were doing stuff they hadn’t done all year, instead of just taking what the other team was giving us,” he said. “I think we had like six or seven personal fouls and then we had turnovers that we hadn’t made in the previous four or five games, so those two things combined were really the turning point in the game.

“Our defense played great for the most part. It was 14-2 with like seven minutes left in the third quarter and then we turned the ball over, they got a pick six, and it kind of steamrolled from there. But even with that being said, we were down two scores with about six or seven minutes left and we were able to put two drives together, along with a two-point conversion, to tie the game up and go into overtime.”

The Bobcats didn’t hang their heads following that tough loss to East. They bounced back the next week with a blowout win against Davie County 62-28, to give them some positive momentum heading into the playoffs.

“We just let the past be the past, we had to move onto the next game,” Stevenson said. “I told them after the game, we can’t allow this game to beat us twice and going into the next week, we didn’t want to have a hangover from the disappointing loss against East.

“We just had to move on. I feel like we had a lot of football left to play, so we couldn’t drop our heads because of that. Of course, that rivalry is big, and we were the talk of the city from the beginning of the year. Us and East was going to be the game of the year in a lot of people’s minds. Just being able to get that game out of the way, even though we didn’t get the win, was good for us.”

Heading into the playoffs, there was some chatter about Winston-Salem schools not being able to match up physically with a lot of the Charlotte area schools because of the numbers. Stevenson remembered the playoff loss to Butler last season and reminded his team that they didn’t want their season to end in a similar fashion.

“The Butler game last year in the spring, I felt like Butler just played harder than us and that was disappointing,” he said. “We talk about coaching and other things and sometimes it comes down to Jimmy’s and Joe’s, but to me that wasn’t the case in the Butler game, they just played harder than us.  

“They came in expecting to win and we came in hoping to win in that game. I had to change some things practice-wise and weightlifting-wise and just mentality-wise for the guys. We just had to change some things and that was really one of the reasons why I wanted to schedule the Chambers game early in the year. In that game, we felt like if our quarterback doesn’t go down on the third play of the game, we felt like we could have easily won that game. It was 0-0 at halftime. Just a totally different mentality, and that mentality is there will never be another team that plays harder than us.”

Glenn plays Myers Park tomorrow night. Stevenson knows the challenging task ahead of him, but reminds his players daily that they can play with any team in the state. He feels if they stick to their game plan, they have a good chance of moving on to the next round.

“You are talking about a school with 3,330 or 3,400 students, compared to us with about 1,600,” he continued. “They are going to come in with the expectations that we are just a little old team from Forsyth County and they’re the mecca of North Carolina 4A football, per se, in Charlotte.

“We are used to that now, especially after playing Chambers and then playing Providence last week. We will be ready to go, and I am sure they will be ready to go as well. As long as we don’t have those personal fouls and we don’t try to play hero ball and turn the ball over, I definitely like our chances.”

Stevenson says there are several players who have exceeded expectations this year. He feels those guys, among others, have helped get the Bobcats to this point in the season.

“I think Chaney Fitzgerald has exceeded expectations,” he said. “He had a pretty good spring and I don’t think many saw him putting up the numbers he has put up here in the fall season. He has definitely upgraded his recruiting profile.

“Also, Tyshon Holland had his knee scoped in the summer and for him to come back as a third-year starter playing the way he has on the offensive line has been tremendous. Albert Redd has done what Albert Redd has always done since he has set foot on campus. AJ Cloverdale has really taken his game to another level and I think he is one of the best players in the state. I think he will be the next Power 5 kid coming out of Glenn High School.”

Stevenson has continually fielded one of the better teams in the city, year in and year out. He credits his coaching staff and the work the kids put in for their continued success. He is still hunting for that state championship and feels they are heading in the right direction to make it happen.

“If you’re not developing a program trying to get to the point where you’re winning state titles, I really don’t know what you’re doing,” he stated. “Every year that’s our goal. We want to go undefeated in non-conference, win the conference, and then be the last team standing when we get to the playoffs.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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