Looking back to last season, winning three consecutive games in a row was not at all a concern for the McMaster football club.
The Marauders face an uphill battle, attempting to climb out of the OUA basement. The road to the playoffs should not be a difficult one, as their next three opponents collectively own a record of two wins and 14 losses.
The Homecoming game this weekend against the 1-4 Waterloo Warriors is the first in a series of three must-win games for the Marauders. The next three weeks will determine where Mac will sit in the playoff tree.
The squad knows how important the win is not just for their spot in the standings, but for their fans as well. A convincing win on Homecoming weekend could give confidence to a fan base that is skeptical about the quality of the 2013 Maroon and Grey platoon.
“The homecoming weekend game has always had a lot of attention and you never want to fail on a day like that because of the support and the meaning behind the weekend,” said fifth-year wide receiver Mike DiCroce of the importance of the upcoming weekend.
“Its very important to us to be ready and to show up that day to make everyone who is associated to the program proud,” DiCroce added.
The veteran has solidified himself as a positive contributor, not only with his on-field performance, but also with his immense focus and understanding of what it takes to pull out a win.
“Coming off the Guelph game we didn’t play consistent football. Having a bad play, drive or quarter is not acceptable when hoping to compete for an OUA title,” said DiCroce of the devastating loss to the Gryphons on Sept. 21.
“All around we just need to be better and keep moving forward not back.”
Assistant Coach Jon Behie understands what it takes to rebuild this team and to help the Marauders complete a comeback.
“Our main focus has to be to get better every day. To try to rationalize our losses or look too far ahead makes no sense,” Behie said.
“If we take care of the little things on a day to day basis, then the big picture stuff will become much easier down the road.”
At this point, the Marauders can only afford to look forward.
“The next three games present a great opportunity for us to gain some momentum heading in to the playoffs,” Behie said.
“Of course, also at stake is a potential home playoff game.”
McMaster has been marred by injuries to a handful of key players, and they will not be expected to return against the Warriors. However, the coaching staff expects the players to get some reps in before a potential Yates Cup run.
“We are expecting some of our injured players back and are eager to work them back in to the lineup some time before the playoff run,” Behie said of the hopes for a healthy roster come this weekend and in the weeks to come.
Although the next three opponents the Marauders are scheduled to face hold the bottom three spots in the OUA rankings, the football club is still putting in the necessary preparations in the hopes of setting themselves apart and climbing the standings.
The Homecoming contest kicks off Oct. 5 at 1:00 p.m. at Ron Joyce Stadium.