It’s difficult for Pat Haxton to speak in absolutes when talking about the progress of the Valley Center football program.
The Hornets, beset in recent years with sinking numbers and even lower confidence, are 1-17 under Haxton. A sudden turnaround isn’t expected, either.
“It’s hard for me to tell,” Haxton said when asked if the program was where he wanted it to be entering his third season. “It’s never where you want it to be, because I know I would have liked to win more games last year, but we’re progressing in the right direction.”
The positives are that Valley Center had a nucleus of around 50 players attend its summer weightlifting program and return 15 starters. Haxton is also excited about the speed compiled on defense.
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“We’re going to try to get everybody that can run on that side of the ball, so if you can’t run you’re probably going to be with me on the offensive line,” Haxton said.
But hope is fleeting around the school, the first loss signaling another sure demise for the football team.
“The kids are changing, though,” Haxton said. “We still have struggles. We still have to work on a lot of different areas, but we’re getting it turned around. We have to change the culture here and it starts with the kids.”
Haxton thinks a resolution is in finding a leader, and he is turning to Braden Tormey, a former wide receiver attempting to escape his timidity in his transition to quarterback. It’s not ideal for Tormey, but he understands the importance of his task.
“It’s tough because I’m working on being more of a vocal leader,” said Tormey. “As a quarterback, you have to take control of the huddle and lead. Last year I really didn’t do that. But now everyone is looking to me and they’re listening, so I have to step up.”