The Hamilton-Wenham football team will be feeling a bit like travelling salesmen in October, taking their act on the road for five straight games.
So the sense of urgency surrounding this Saturday's battle of unbeatens against Pentucket is a bit more heightened than a garden variety non-league September scuffle.
The Generals want to leave home on a positive note and keep the good vibes they're enjoying going strong after starting the year 2-0 with wins over Newburyport and Triton.
For the record, Hamilton-Wenham isn't concerned with their elongated road trip, either.
"I actually think it helped us because it means we've been at home to start the season. That's really given us a chance to get comfortable," said Jake Prince, a senior.
The Generals are coming off a forgettable 2-8 season, but perhaps the key to their quick turnaround has been the senior class utterly refusing to forget what happened last year. Instead, they used that tough campaign and a surprising Thanksgiving loss to Ipswich as motivation all this past offseason.
"Anytime you lose to a team to end their big losing streak (Ipswich had dropped 31 straight before beating the Generals), that stays with you. You don't want to feel that way again," said Prince, whom head coach Andrew Morency called the team's "Mr. Everything."
The results thus far in 2010 have spoken volumes, as Hamilton-Wenham has controlled the line of scrimmage on the offensive and defensive lines in both wins to open the year. That's a credit not only to the talents of linemen James Brao, Prince, Nick Vogus, Jake Andre, Shane Jenkins and Taylor Drinkwater, but also to work they put in all summer.
"This (offseason) was definitely the most guys we ever had for weightlifting," said Brao. "Everybody put the time in."