McALESTER — McAlester’s freshman football team began its 2013 season with low numbers and questions at several positions, according to 10-year freshman coach Richard Carney.
The freshman Buffs ended their season with a 28-16 win at home Monday against Broken Bow, finishing with an 8-0 record and the first undefeated freshman season in approximately 10 years.
“They were consistent on both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively,” Carney said. “We tackled when we needed to make plays. Offensively, we caught the ball when we needed to."
Though the freshman Buffs cruised through their first three wins, Carney said the team really came together in the second half of an Oct. 7 game at Durant. Durant had beaten this freshman class as eighth graders last year to spoil what would’ve been an undefeated season.
“We played real bad one quarter against Durant when we played down there,” Carney said. “We were behind at the time, and then we played the second half real well and we ended up beating them by two touchdowns. That was probably the key thing — we just had like one game where we didn’t play well.
“We just talked about that we were a better team than they were. We told them that we were a better team, that we had better players and we just weren’t playing up to our capabilities. We didn’t really make any kind of adjustments. We just kind of got them hooked up.”
Carney said most of McAlester’s 23-man freshman team played both offense and defense, with some also spending time on special teams. That demanded a high level of physical conditioning from the Buffs, but Carney said a core of about 16 freshman began gaining that conditioning as early as the summer, attending every day of McAlester’s Summer Pride offseason conditioning program.