Odessa learned a lot under first-year coach
By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
There was a bit of a learning curve at Odessa in 2010. The Bulldogs got a new coach in first-year head man Dan Joiner and the change brought some early growing pains. In the end Odessa found itself in the playoffs after a regular season-ending win over rival Oak Grove.
The year ended in the first round of the Class 3 post-season with a loss to Maryville. Even with the defeat, the Bulldogs won three of their last five regular season games to finish at 5-7 on the season along with a 3-2 record in the Missouri River Valley Conference West.
Joiner came over from Park Hill South and really enjoyed his first year as a head coach. He said his team really improved as the year went on.
“The highlight for us would have to be overcoming adversity early on during the season and still being able to work and finish the season off strong,” Joiner said. “We really improved on understanding how to practice at a high tempo and what a sense of work ethic is.”
That work ethic paid off in the final week of the regular season when the Bulldogs found themselves in a win or stay home game with Oak Grove. The Oak Grove-Odessa rivalry is one of the best in the state and the Bulldogs got the best of the Panthers 42-28 for the win.
With a lot of learning out of the way in season No. 1 under Joiner, the offseason focus has turned to the mental aspect of being ready to play football.
Joiner has been pleased with what he has seen so far in the offseason.
“We need to make sure we approach every game with the proper competitive mindset,” Joiner said. “We have had great turn out (60/70) kids on a consistent basis and our kids have had the ability to be taught proper nutrition and work out routines.”
The Bulldogs should hit the ground running in 2011. They graduated 14 seniors, with seven of those seeing significant playing time. A lot of younger players gained experience and should be ready to contribute right away.
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