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By SHEL SEGAL
For the Arcadia High football team, after finishing 5-5 a year ago it’s all about capitalizing on those mistakes.
And coach Andrew Policky thinks he’s got the group that can do it. In his second year at the helm of the Apaches, Policky said the team is improving.
“It’s been an interesting year,” Policky said. “We had a tough year last year. It was an ugly 5-5. We should be better than that this year. We had a long, hard offseason. We got a great group of kids who keep coming every day and are working hard.”
The one word that describes what the team is lacking is cohesiveness, Policky said. But after the team spent a weekend this summer on a retreat in Big Bear, Policky said he is hoping those problems are in the past.
“We’re just trying to bring them together,” he said. “I think last year it felt like we were just a bunch of individuals. We weren’t a cohesive unit. This year, I feel like we’re heading in the right direction. Guys are playing hard and are playing for each other.”
Policky added the team is trying to be stronger on the field.
“Just our overall level of toughness,” he said. “The last couple years we’ve been a little bit soft. And just being more cohesive and playing for each other. Somehow we’ve gotten away from that the past couple of years. It just hasn’t been Arcadia football. We’re getting back to playing physical, playing as a group and playing for each other.”
In addition, Policky said last year’s squad won the easy games and lost the tough ones, adding that needs to change this season.
“We won the games we were supposed to win last year,” he said. “We weren’t upset by anybody. But we didn’t turn any heads by beating anybody. This year we need to turn that corner and beat some of the good teams and be thought of as a good team ourselves.”
Leading the Apaches on offense is junior quarterback Nico Hillier, who Policky said should hopefully bring some wins to the team.
“He’s pretty athletic,” Policky said of Hillier. “He’s tall and has a strong arm. He can throw the football. He’s going to be a good football player for us.
Running the ball and playing linebacker on defense will be fullback Josh Benson. Benson is expected to see a lot of playing time, Policky said.
“He’s going to be one of our leaders this year,” Policky said of Benson. “He’s going to carry the football a lot. We’ll have to spot him on defense because he’s going to carry it a lot. He’s going to be a good player for us.”
(Shel Segal can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him via Twitter @segallanded.)