If the South Titans advance to the state football playoffs, first-year coach Cory Brack should be the unanimous choice for coach of the year in the City League.
I know the numbers support Bishop Carroll coach Alan Schuckman. The Eagles are undefeated and have earned their third consecutive league title. But choosing is as gray as a cloudy October day.
South (4-3), which can wrap up a playoff berth with a win at Campus tonight, will finish with at least four league wins. The Titans haven't won more than three games in a season since 1996, and haven't reached the playoffs since 1971.
And while the number of wins is important, it's the way that South has won that is most impressive.
Three of the South's four wins have been by less than a touchdown. Last season, the Titans didn't have a single game decided, either way, by less than nine points. That shows that not only have the Titans been more competitive, but they are doing the little things.
And it's those little things that have forced the players to be accountable and take pride in wearing their uniform, South senior Cameron Brandon said.
"We felt that the coaching staff were the only people who believed in us," Brandon said. "We became a family."
South's rise to second place in the City League is even more surprising considering the Titans lost to West by 27 points to open the season.
The loss really devastated the coaching staff, Brack said. After all the work they'd done over the summer to make improvements, they realized it was time to go back to the drawing board.
"We stayed here until 3 a.m. trying to figure out what we were doing wrong," Brack said. "We knew that something had to be figured out that night. So we decided that we had to get back to the basics."
The Titans spent the next week simplifying things. It was, at the time, one of the most important weeks of practice that the Titans had.
They rebounded from the West loss by upsetting Southeast 16-13.
"The Southeast game couldn't have come at a better time," Brack said. "The kids saw that their hard work paid off."
Tonight, or next week, will ultimately show if the mentality at South has changed. Last season, the Titans had a chance to advance to the playoffs, but suffered a 20-7 home loss to Campus and a 48-0 loss to Northwest.
"Is South back on the map? We will see," Brandon said. "We're motivated, we just have to make it happen."