BLUEFIELD — The Bluefield Beavers want to prove they are one of the best 0-2 football teams in the state of West Virginia, and the remainder of the season is their proving ground.

Just before Tuesday’s practice, head coach Fred Simon said, “There are a lot of games left in our season, and we feel like, with a winning record, that we could get in the playoffs.

“And that’s what our goal is, to bust our tails, and keep getting better, and hang in there, and cut down on our mistakes — and eventually some good things will happen to us. ...

“I think, with the schedule we play, 6-4 or better would get us in. Whether we can pull that off or not, I don’t know,” Simon said.

The Beavers are coming off a bye week after their season began with a 25-23 loss to Graham and a 15-13 setback to Princeton on Sept. 5.

Simon said, “We’ve played hard; I’ve really been impressed with our heart. Unfortunately, we’ve come up short twice, but we keep hanging in there, and eventually, if we keep hanging in there, something good’s going to happen to us. I feel sure that’s what’s going to happen.”

“You take a play or two here or there, we could very easily be 2-0. That’s the frustrating part, but that’s the way life is sometimes. Sometimes you’ve got to take a step or two back before you can start moving forward.”

The team has used the time since the Princeton game effectively, their coach said.

“We’ve worked on our fundamentals a lot,” Simon said. “We felt like, blocking-wise, and tackling, and assignment-wise, we’ve had to work on a lot of things. And we have.”

Senior Isaiah Manns said, “We did a lot of fundamentals, just trying to cut down on mistakes. We made a lot of mistakes in these last two games. ... We did a whole bunch of work, so we look pretty good.”

Senior Tommy Ly said, “We’ll try harder the next time, and execute.”

Simon said, “We think we’ve got more pieces to the puzzle figured out. ... We were so young in the beginning, but now we’re figuring out where everybody belongs. It’s taken a little time, but I think we’ve got it figured out OK.”

Simon said the inexperience going into the first game has become a thing of the past. “They’re not young now. It’s time to move on. They’ve had their experiences, and now it’s time to get down to business,” Simon said.

Manns said about the younger players, “They have to prove themselves. We all have to prove ourselves. We’re a young team, so we have to come out and play hard every time.”

Simon has his players focusing on what’s ahead, Manns said, whether it’s the next play or the next contest.

The receiver said, “He just tells us, ‘That play’s over. Take a deep breath. It’s a new play.’ It’s a new game. So play your hardest this play, and give it your all.”

This Friday the Beavers travel to North Carolina to take on Charlotte Country Day School. The Bucs (2-1) are an unknown quantity to most people, but not to Simon.

“They’re very fundamentally sound,” Simon said. “They make very few mistakes to beat themselves. I’m very impressed with them. They’re definitely a really good football team.”

Simon added, “We’re a good football team, (but) we’ve had costly penalties when we didn’t need them, and we’ve had turnovers, and defensively at times we haven’t tackled as well as I’d like for us to.

“We’re going to find out here in the next few weeks what we’re made of. I think we’re made of some really good kids. I’m really pleased with their attitude. They’ve never let up, they’ve worked hard, and I think they’ll continue to do so.

“And eventually, we’re going to kick in gear and everything will turn out all right for us.”

— Contact Tom Bone at

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