By Ryan Costello, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Just to set the scene: Chisholm is 4-0, with a win in 2A-1 already under its belt, and entering a second district match against contender Hennessey.
So, just like Friday’s 6 p.m. tilt between No. 11 Chisholm (4-0, 1-0) and the No. 5 Eagles (3-1, 0-0), but this was in 2003.
Hennessey, itself not far from a several-season boom cycle at the time, beat Chisholm 13-7 that night. Chisholm didn’t win again that season, and hasn’t won much since.
The Longhorns were 4-6 in 2003. The next nine campaigns?
2-8; 0-10; 2-8; 5-5; 5-5; 3-7; 0-10; 1-9; 5-5.
All that meaning the Longhorns haven’t enjoyed a winning season, or a playoff berth, since 2002, the year before their last 4-0 start spiraled into nine straight campaigns of losing or .500 finishes.
So here the Longhorns are again, a win away from ensuring 2013 isn’t another losing year, with their next chance also an opportunity to both gain an edge on 2A-1 favorite Hennessey and end a 10-game losing streak against the Eagles that started on the same night Chisholm’s decade of non-winning seasons did.
They’re the kind of opportunities Joey Reinart, 13-31 in four-plus seasons at Chisholm’s helm, hasn’t had.
“You beat teams that are supposed to be at the top and you set yourself up to not only get to the playoffs, but to leave the lights on here at home a couple more times,” Reinart said. “Those are things that we have never talked about before.”
Before the start of the 2013 season, Hennessey coach Rick Luetjen picked Chisholm to finish in 2A-1’s top four and earn a playoff berth, so Friday's game being an important one for district standing wasn’t a surprise.
“I’ve been high on Chisholm for the last couple years when Joey’s been there,” Lutjen said. “He’s built that program up now the last 4-5 years, and now he’s got kids that have been through the program 4-5 years, and kids that know what he wants and how he wants things done.”
The next trick for Reinart is sustaining it, one that the Longhorns couldn’t pull the last time they were on the precipice of 5-0. The good news for the former Okeene quarterback is the effort needed is an easier sell when the results are there.
“Once you get the taste of a win or two, the smiles, they’re definitely there a lot more throughout the week,” Reinart said. “You don’t have to sit out there and pound into their head, ‘Hey, you have to go out there and fight Friday,’ after you’re sitting there at 0-4. That’s tough to do sometimes. We’ve fought through those things and pushed, and this Friday -- these last couple Fridays -- you say, ‘Listen, you want to come do it again, you’ve got to get after it.’ We don’t have to put those kind of illusions out there, as bad as that is to say. There’s a reality out there that if they go out there and compete, there’s a chance they can get it done. They understand that now.”