Churubusco first-year head coach Paul Sade does not pretend to have all the answers.
Sure, he could put on a front brimming with confidence and talk about how he has approached his team's two-game losing streak and his mindset of turning it around.
But that would not be entirely honest.
“For me, I go back to calls I made a lot,” Sade said about his thought process as Churubusco attempts to reverse its skid with sectionals beginning Friday. “As a first-year coach … I don't want to drop the ball. I don't want to let our kids down. I want to be as prepared as possible.”
Make no mistake, Sade has the feel of his team and is confident the ninth-ranked Eagles will come out playing well against Eastside (4-5) this week. But he also knows that his team got a reality check the last two Fridays in losses to Fairfield and Lakeland.
How his team responds is something he cannot entirely answer.
“The first seven weeks of the season went well,” Sade said. “The (35-14) Fairfield loss woke us up … we haven't seen anybody make us look that bad in quite a while.
“The Lakeland loss we made some mistakes.”
A mental breakdown may also have been an issue.
“To some degree, we had a bit of a higher opinion of ourselves than we should have,” said Sade, who saw his program rise into the top five in Class 2A. “At least on the offensive side of the ball, we felt like we were playing a bit better than what we were.”
So how does Churubusco get back on track? Simple, it gets back to the basics of what led to a 7-0 start to the season.
That includes solid line play and execution, plus avoiding complacency.
Churubusco (7-2) exhibited some of that complacency in its first matchup with Eastside earlier this season when it fell behind 13-0 before scoring the next 31 points in a blowout victory.
“The idea of playing the same team twice makes me really uncomfortable,” Sade said. “There were things that worked against them previously that there is no guarantee we will be able to do (Friday).”
The Blazers come into Friday a confident bunch, winners of three straight. How Churubusco is able to approach this game mentally will go a long way toward deciding a winner.
“You assume what worked the first time around will again, and we all know that's not true,” Sade said. “But sometimes that's a hard thing to understand.”
Sade may still be learning when it comes to how to read a team during success or failure, but he is confident his team will be ready to play against Eastside.
“There is no question all of our kids are fully aware of how we finished the regular season, but we try and get them in that mindset of starting from scratch,” Sade said. “That is not always easy to do.”
Sade and the Eagles will give it their best shot Friday.