DUNLAP — Tim Dawson crafted a clear message Monday, so Concord's football coach went on the offensive to ensure it was heard.
With a shiny new Class 5A No. 1 bullseye poised to be stapled to their backs on Tuesday, the Minutemen received one of those “back-in-the-day'' reflections.
“I gave them a little history lesson,” Dawson said Tuesday. “I told them how we were No. 1 and we went to Goshen and got beat in 1999.”
Granted, the current players were likely watching “Blue's Clues” and taking afternoon naps in '99, but Dawson wanted his team to keep it real. In other words, it became a “don't-let-this-happen-to-you” moment.
“You address it, sure. It's a compliment. It doesn't mean not to enjoy it, but it doesn't mean anything,” he said. “It's just more bulletin board material.”
Dawson also shared more history for consideration — how in 1998, a first-round sectional victory over a then-No. 1 Redskins was perhaps the first step in Concord's run of success during the last decade.
“I think that set the tone for our foundation. We started out 5-4 and beat No. 1 Goshen at home,” Dawson said. “To me, that was our signature moment, which kind of helped us turn the corner. The kids started to believe, expecting to win.
“Concord and Goshen used to be the game, but these kids don't remember that. I've been that coach on the other end of chasing. Are we going to change our approach? No. We're good, but we'll tell you when you're great. You still have to play each week.”
Goshen would love nothing more than to throw a road block into Concord's quest for a fourth straight NLC championship. The Redskins are struggling to finish drives and finish games and stand at 0-4.
But Concord's last four opponents — Jimtown, Plymouth, Northridge and Warsaw — each stand at 3-1.
Dawson figures there won't be much trouble getting his club to focus on the stretch run, but overlooking the Redskins Friday would be a mistake.
“They have nothing to lose, and if you aren't ready to play, bad things happen,” Dawson said of GHS. “Goshen is not a bad football team. They move the football. For us it's about staying hungry. No. 1 is all fine and dandy, but keep it in perspective. Great teams continue to work.
“We're playing well in all three phases, but can we get better? Offensively, we've had these third-quarter explosions, but we haven't moved the ball well in the first half ... we self-destruct, we have penalties and we don't get any points. Sooner or later that's gonna haunt you.”
In the last two weeks, Concord rode 21-point third periods to rout NorthWood and Wawasee. Senior wideout Adam Glanders returns to action this week after missing the last three Fridays with a strained groin muscle. Jackson Marlowe, who wrenched an ankle in week 1 against South Bend Washington and hasn't seen time since, may see some time, too.
High School Football
Friday, Sept. 20 Games
Concord (4-0) at Goshen (0-4), 7:30 p.m.
Northridge (3-1) at Warsaw (3-1), 7:30 p.m.
Plymouth (3-1) at Elkhart Memorial (1-3), 7:30 p.m.
Wawasee (1-3) at NorthWood (3-1), 7:30 p.m.
Elkhart Central (2-2) at South Bend Riley (1-3), Jackson Field, 7 p.m.
Penn (4-0) at South Bend Clay (0-4), 7 p.m.
Mishawaka Marian (3-1) at South Bend Washington (0-4), School Field, 7 p.m.
Fort Wayne North (2-2) at Mishawaka (2-2), 7 p.m.
South Bend Adams (2-2) at South Bend St. Joseph (3-1), 7 p.m.
New Prairie (4-0) at Jimtown (3-1), 7:30 p.m.
Bremen (2-2) at Culver (2-2), 7 p.m.
Glenn (2-2) at Triton (1-3), 7 p.m.
Knox (1-3) at LaVille (2-2), 7:30 p.m.
Fairfield (3-1) at Eastside (1-3), 7 p.m.
Central Noble (0-4) at Fremont (1-3), 7 p.m.
Churubusco (4-0) at Angola (2-2), 7 p.m.
Lakeland (4-0) at West Noble, (1-3), 7 p.m.
Woodlan (2-2) at Prairie Heights (2-2), 7 p.m.
On the Air
Elkhart Central vs. SB Riley
New Prairie at Jimtown
WTRC 1340, am1340.com
Concord at Goshen
Plymouth at Elkhart Memorial
Wawasee at NorthWood
WAWC 103.5, www.willie1035.com
Northridge at Warsaw
Fairfield at Eastside
Penn at South Bend Clay
MNC 95.3, WGCS 91.1
South Bend Adams at South Bend St. Joseph
WSBT 960, 96.1