Clements is in a similar position to last season. The Colts opened the season with two impressive non-region wins and headed into Class 3A, Region 8 play with a game against Phil Campbell.
But Clements coach Michael Parker needs this game to be much different from last year's game, in which the Colts suffered a 15-7 defeat to the Bobcats that started a four-game losing streak.
“You think back to last year, and we were 2-0 at this point, too. We went on a four-game losing streak that got us mentally,” Parker said. “We're trying to stay focused and trying to keep prepared for the most important game of the year, and that's this week. We're approaching it as if this is our first game. That's the way we're looking at things, trying to keep a level head.”
Clements was able to prepare for region play with an off week following its two wins (50-6 over Elkmont and 48-14 over Tanner). Parker said it was a good opportunity to work on some things that plagued the team in its first two games.
“We just tried to clean some things up a little bit,” Parker said. “We need to improve what we do, and cut down on penalties. We had two big wins, but we had a lot of unnecessary penalties in those wins. There's a lot of things we didn't do well the first two weeks, and after watching film, you look back and life would've been a whole lot easier if we'd have done things right.”
Phil Campbell is 1-1 and 1-0 in the region, having lost to Red Bay 54-20 in a nonregion game before defeating Lexington 34-7 last week to open region play.
The Bobcats struggled to a 2-8 season last year, but one of those wins was the victory over Clements.
“They just came in here and outplayed us,” Parker said. “We led until late in the fourth quarter, but they beat us the entire game. I thought we were the better team, but being unprepared got us.”
Parker said he and the rest of the coaching staff are asking the players to stay focused this week in practice and not let what happened last year repeat itself.
“I'm happy with our offensive and defensive game plans, and I feel like if we do things right and perform like we're supposed to perform, we'll have a good shot in the game,” Parker said. “Phil Campbell is far better than they were last year, but I feel like we're better than we were last year, too. Staying focused is the main thing. We can't lose sight of the game in hand while looking ahead in the season.”