BAINBRIDGE – For the first time in eight years, B-G head coach Tim Mattingly is not building off a winning season. Typically in the playoff hunt from his first season on the job, the Bobcats lost their first four games last season, but did come on strong late in the year to win three of the last five.
"We talked more about the end of last year and winning those last two games," Mattingly said. "And the Walton and Delhi games – the two weeks before – were pretty competitive, too. We were awful young last year, we started a number of sophomores, and we did go through some growing pains. But we saw steady improvement week to week, the kids bought into what we were doing, and we were playing some pretty good football at the end of the season."
It didn't help that two-way starter Cole Webb, tabbed as the quarterback, injured his hand early in the first game, and didn't resume his starting quarterback duties until half of the season was lost.
"Without Cole, we became too one-dimensional," Mattingly said. "Defenses loaded up on us to stop the run. When we got Cole back, we were able to throw it a bit, and that opened things up in the running game."
Over the last four weeks, Webb was perhaps the most efficient quarterback in Chenango County completing nearly 50 percent of his passes and throwing eight touchdowns. Also, a substantive running game was established behind an offensive line that figures to be a strength of this year's team.