By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
EVERETT – The Archbishop Murphy football team ended day three of the first week of practice with an interception by a defensive lineman. One of the assistant coaches could be heard saying, “let’s end it on a high note.”
That’s exactly how the Wildcats hope to end their season, motivated in part by the way the 2014 season came to a close.
After a 7-2 regular season, the Wildcats were eliminated from the playoffs with a 44-16 loss to Squalicum. After their two previous losses by a combined 11 points, the 28-point defeat didn’t sit well.
“I thought we made great progress last year, but we ended the season with a sour taste in our mouths,” head coach Jerry Jensen said. “The kids remember that and the coaching staff remembers that, so we’re going to try to not let that happen this year.”
Jensen is entering his third season as the Wildcats’ head coach. Archbishop Murphy struggled to a 3-6 record in his first season, but started to turn things around last season.
“We’ve set ourselves up based on last year and the first year, taking our lumps then,” Jensen said. “We’ve set some things in place. The kids know what we expect of them. They know that we’re not going to quit and leave. When we first got here we had to gain the trust of the kids and I think that took a while. We had good some good kids coming in. Those kids are now juniors and you sprinkle in a couple of good seniors and a decent sophomore class. I think it’s just the progression of taking over a program and the kids getting used to you.”
But Jensen isn’t ready to make any bold predictions about the 2015 season.
“We are going to take each day game by game,” Jensen said. “There is definitely some talent on this team. This is our third year as a coaching staff, so the kids are kind of accustomed to us. We’re looking to make more improvements in year three and we’ll see how far that takes us.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on Twitter at @aaronlommers and contact him at email@example.com.
ARCHBISHOP MURPHY WILDCATS
Head coach: Jerry Jensen (3rd season)
Key returners: Anfernee Gurley, Jr., RB/DB/Kick returner; Kerry Jackson, Sr., RB/LB; Jesus Echevarria, Jr., OL/DL; Jackson Yost, Jr., OL/DL; Ben Hines, Soph., RB/LB; Kyler Gordon, Soph., WR/DB.
Coach’s quote: “We return seven starters on both sides of the ball, including some emerging young players. The team is starting the season with a chip on their shoulder after a disappointing ending to last season.”