Just three weeks into a 10-week season, it's hard to imagine a game already can be labeled a "must win."
But for the Calvert Senecas, who have visions on a deep November run, an 0-2 start puts tonight's home game against Woodmore in that category.
"It's a must win," Calvert coach Todd Fox said. "Will the world end if we don't achieve what we set out to do Friday night? No. But, we feel that for our mentality, and these gentlemen deserve a win, so we're going to go out and do everything we can."
Calvert dropped its first two games to teams that were playoff qualifiers a year ago. After giving up 39 points in the season opener to McComb, Fox feels his team improved drastically on the defensive end in last Saturday's overtime loss to Norwalk St. Paul.
"Week 1 to Week 2, defensively there's a world of difference," Fox said. "In Week 1, McComb ran their power game at us and really ate us up. In Week 2, St. Paul, they ran their power game at us and, take away two of their offensive plays, they have 70 yards on the night."
Still, Fox is looking for his offense to come alive. The Senecas have struggled to put points up on the scoreboard. Calvert was a minute away from putting a seven-spot on the board for the second straight week before engineering a last-minute 80-yard scoring drive against St. Paul to force overtime. Through two weeks, Calvert is averaging 264 yards-per-game, ranking near the bottom of Midland Athletic League teams.
"That's not something we expected coming in," Fox admitted. "We felt that would be a strong suit for us. And that (falls) on me and the offensive staff. We're working on fine tuning and maybe eliminating some things and just narrowing it down to things that we do great."
The contrast to Calvert's offensive woes is Woodmore. The Wildcats average 417.5 yards and 55.5 points in two wins over Port Clinton and Cardinal Stritch.
Jake Matweijczyk was an honorable mention all-district quarterback last season. He's amassed 300 yards passing and five touchdowns in the first two weeks, and has rushed for more than 200 yards and five more scores, including a 174-yard, three-touchdown effort in the opener against Port Clinton.
Matweijczyk isn't the only threat the Wildcats have though, according to Fox.
"Woodmore got a great quarterback, a great set of receivers and a threat at the running back position too," Fox said. "They obviously score 50 points a game so we have to slow (Matweijczyk) down, he's a dual-threat quarterback. We feel that our defense is up to that challenge. Coach (Pat) Herron has done a nice job, we're excited to get back on the field."
Tony Rozzi has rushed for 182 yards and three scores this year while the receiving corps boasts numerous players who have racked up big yardage and touchdowns so far.
Calvert has faced a lot of adversity through the first two weeks, but Fox says the team has handled it well, and that shows his team is very capable of turning its season around, starting tonight against Woodmore.
"After the first week, this team has very big ambitions and goals this year, they could've came out in Week 2 and really just kind of went through the motions and felt sorry for themselves," he said. "So they played very well Saturday night, then the way they finished that game, they could've packed it in and we finished that game with that 80-yard drive and scored with the last play. They never stopped believing in themselves."
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Frost-Kalnow Stadium.