What’s the best way to measure the success and progress of the 2013 Peabody High football team?
A year ago the Tanners didn’t win a game, didn’t hold the lead in any contest and gave up a school record 420 points.
Fast forward 12 months and the Tanners (3-7) have led in all but two of their 10 games and have nearly tripled last year’s point production.
There’s no question the team is better. First-year head coach Mark Bettencourt believes that fact is rooted not in those tangible improvements, but in the culture of a locker room that is not satisfied with simply being competitive.
“Coming in, the biggest thing we had to do was build a mentality, and that’s been mission accomplished,” said Bettencourt.
“I’m so pleased with the attitude. Coming off a loss, our bus is silent. The kids are angry. It took some time to build that in baseball (where he is also the head coach at Peabody High), and these guys have it right away.”
Tomorrow morning, the coach would like nothing better than to send his nine seniors out with a win over Thanksgiving rival Saugus (10 a.m., Stackpole Field).
“I almost look at it as a must-win for us,” said Bettencourt. “I look at the four years of some serious ups and downs those guys have been through. To have them come off that field and go have their turkey as winners is very important to me.”
Captains Cody Wlasuk, Michael James, Brandon Rapoza, Joe Molica and Chris Sierra spearheaded the team’s complete buy-in to Bettencourt’s philosophies.
“We’re committed. No one skips practices, no one comes late,” Rapoza said of the biggest difference between this year and last year. “The captains have taken charge and made sure everybody’s working hard.”