FORT WAYNE – They are all about endings these days at Bellmont. Even if it’s a beginning time.
“I have a good group of kids, but they’re young,” is Bellmont coach Larry Getts’ assessment.
And yet here’s the message he’s putting out there to them, the byproduct of a 4-6 season that could have been far better: It’s not how you begin but how you end that matters.
“Our motto this year is ‘Finish,’ ” Getts says. “Outside of one game, we were either tied or led every game and just let the game slip away from us. We had the ability to turn some big wins but just couldn’t complete it.
“So our focus has been on ‘Finish.’ Everything we do has been about ‘Finish.’ ”
And yet, so much is about starting points, as the Braves prepare for the 2013 season.
Their likely quarterback is a sophomore, Jordan Amacker. Their offensive and defensive lines – the former anchored by senior Dalton Schultz, the latter by senior Mack Ripley – will be young.
There’s a couple of junior receivers in John Sefton and Josh Brune, and a solid running game anchored around seniors Chase Ellsworth (376 yards and two touchdowns last fall) and Trevor Love (264 yards).
“This year we’re a lot younger than what we normally are,” senior linebacker Austin Alberson says. “We have a good backfield. Our defense, they play fast, they’re aggressive, we’re going to be looking for the ball. The lines, they’re going to be young, but they’ll gain experience. They’ll be good.”
In other words, it will be a growth process for the Braves, with the season likely unfolding the opposite of how it did last year, when they won three of their first four games and then lost five of their last six.
Again that operative word: Finish.
“I think we’re going to be OK,” Getts says. “We’re going to go through a process of learning how to win and do good things. We’ve got some new guys at new positions. But in the end we’ve got until October so I feel pretty confident about it.
“I think our strength will be just a blue collar attitude that Decatur and Bellmont gives you. That’s how we’re going to have to learn how to do things.
“We’re not always going to be the most talented team out there, we’re not going to be the quickest. But we can be the toughest, we can be the hardest working. It’s like I tell the kids, it doesn’t take any talent to play hard, play together and play smart. And those are the things we’re going to have to hinge on.”