Bulldogs get tough

Published 7:41 pm Tuesday, December 23, 2008

When Kyle Glover took over the Marbury football program in 2004, he knew what he wanted to accomplish.

“I wanted Marbury to be known for being tougher than the other team,” Glover said.

Toughness may be difficult to determine – unless you’re talking about this year’s team, which shook off both the absence of six players from the 10-2 2007 squad that signed to play collegiately and an 0-3 start to earn a playoff berth.

Because of his role in building the Marbury program to the type that can sustain heavy graduation losses and still succeed because of its mental toughness, Glover is The Clanton Advertiser’s coach of the year.

“I knew these kids would work; I just didn’t know how long it would take this group to grow up and learn how to win,” Glover said.

It didn’t happen immediately because, Glover said, the team’s seven seniors had never needed to take on leadership roles before because of the number and quality of such personalities in the class one year ahead of them.

The Bulldogs dropped their first three games while committing 20 turnovers. Then came a needed win over Beulah and an even more needed open week, which Glover and his staff treated like an extra spring training period.

The focus on fundamentals paid off as Marbury next turned in close wins over B.B. Comer and Montevallo. With a chance to move into first place the Class 3A, Region 3 standings, however, Marbury fell hard at Trinity by a 32-8 score.

Once again, the Bulldogs could have hid under the porch and licked their wounds. Instead, the team earned a playoff appearance with a 20-17 win over Montgomery Academy in Week 9.

“We had every opportunity to quit this year, but that was never an option,” Glover said. “It went from being something that could have been a major setback to our kids and our program and ended up being something positive.”

Glover said he hopes the determination displayed by this Marbury team will have a positive effect on the underclassmen. Also, Glover thinks the lessons learned this year will help the Bulldogs face their futures.

“What we learned this year could help more than if we had won 13 games,” Glover said. “Of course, it’s important to win games, but if you never face adversity then you’re never going to know who you are because you don’t know if you can overcome it.”