South Brunswick recorded the first high school football victory this season for Brunswick County teams last Friday, but instead of having an opportunity to build on that momentum this week, the Cougars have Friday night off due to a scheduled bye week.
In a sport as physically demanding as football, with injuries happening frequently in practices and games, it's rare to hear coaches or players complain about a week without a game and South Brunswick coach Rocky Lewis doesn't want to change his team's schedule. The Cougars appreciate having extra time to let some wounds heal and recharge their mental batteries even with last Friday's 32-21 win at Dixon still fresh on their minds.
"(The bye week) comes at the right time for us," Lewis said in a phone interview. "You've gotta consider who we play next (New Hanover on Sept. 22). Being able to rest up before playing not only one of the best teams in our conference, but in the state can only help. We'll take all the extra preparation time we can get."
Lewis, who was the football coach and athletic director at East Columbus for two years before taking over the Cougars in March 2016, is in Year 2 of a rebuilding phase at South Brunswick, which finished 1-10 last season.
The son of legendary coach Bob Lewis, Rocky has college coaching experience, but he embraced the idea of helping turn the Cougars' program around and part of that is getting the players to adopt a different mindset. A 1-3 start to his second season in charge might not seem like it would foster that type of change, but Rocky said things are turning in the right direction for his squad.
"We feel like we let two (games) slip away," he said, referring to home losses to West Bladen (39-36) and Trask (20-13). "If we make some plays we should make in those games, maybe we're sitting here 3-1.
"Last year, we were blown out of a lot of games, but beginning with the last game of the season last year and all but one game this year (a season-opening 33-0 loss at Red Springs), we're competitive with other teams. We just have to finish and not let our heads slip late in games. We're still learning that."
Lewis said South Brunswick is practicing Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week before he gives his players and assistant coaches the chance to enjoy a rare Friday night off.
So with no game to coach, what will Lewis do? Perhaps not surprisingly, two of three possibilities involved football.
"I was thinking about watching Hoggard at Purnell Swett or Ashley at East Duplin," Lewis said. "I could also stay home with the family. I have three good options."
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