Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. as the Tigers seek their first victory of the 2020 season on the road after losing two games at home to start the season.
The two opening losses against ECC league rivals (0-30) Turpin and (7-13) West Clermont put the Tigers at 0-2 overall and in the conference. They head into action tonight with conference foe Milford. The Eagles stand 1-1 overall and 0-1 in ECC play on the heels of a 14-49 loss to Turpin last Friday. The Eagles won a close one at home 28-24 over Oak Hills in week one.
Two losses at home is not the way Coach Cruse, his team, or Tiger football fans hoped the 2020 Loveland High School football season would begin, but there are signs this team is ready to win. A 30-0 shutout against a conference rival
(Turpin Spartans) does not appear, on the surface, to offer a lot of hope, but a look beyond the final score reveals some light for the future. The Tiger defense shut down the Spartan offense holding them scoreless through the first quarter of play. The Tiger offense moved the ball against the Spartan defense, but a couple of mistakes and two partially blocked field goals kept Loveland off the scoreboard. After the first two weeks, Coach Cruse offers his view.
“The biggest takeaway I have, we’re competing, we’re competing extremely hard,” said Cruse. “It’s something we’ve been stressing with our guys for a long time now. To see our guys, we call it, play with relentless maximum effort. We turn on the tape and we see it. That is a huge, huge step in the right direction. We are real excited about that.”
Week two looked a little bit better to Coach Cruse than week one. Tiger fans who were able to see the game would likely agree with that take on the game with West Clermont. Again, the Tiger defense stopped the Wolves offense allowing them only two touchdowns and stuffing a run for extra point after the first W.C. score. The Tiger defense bent, but did not break making a critical defensive stand in the closing minutes of the game to get the ball back into the hands of the offense with a chance to win the game.
“I don’t think we’re playing as good as we possibly can right now,” Cruse said. “The biggest thing is just execution.”
The final offensive drive of the West Clermont game took the Tigers down to the Wolves 22 yard line before an interception ended the game-winning scoring chance with just one second remaining in the game. Cruse says it starts at practice and they are stressing the importance of practice with the players. They are asking each player “what can you do?” to get us there. He says their response has been especially good this week.
“Right now, we’re focusing on taking that next step,” said Cruse. “We’re close. We said that. We want to take the next step and win. That’s what the focus has been this week.”
Believing they are going to win is another focus Coach Cruse said the team is carrying over from that second week. Despite many things not going their way in the West Clermont game, the Tigers managed to stay focused and maintain “relentless maximum effort” to the end. Loveland found a way to get the momentum back each time it seemed to swing the other way. That is a momentum the team is hoping to ride to their first win of the 2020 season.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Cruse said. “They’re bought in. They’re working really hard to win. Milford is a good team. They have some really good athletes with big guys up front. All that being said, we understand what this week is about. We’re focused on us and just getting better, go out Friday night, execute and hopefully come out on top.”
It is Game Day: LOVELAND TIGERS v. MILFORD EAGLES at Milford, Friday, September 11, 7 p.m.
TRACKING THE TIGERS ACTION:
Boys Soccer: The Tigers suffered their first loss of the season 2-1 in a tough match on the pitch at Milford Thursday night. The loss evens their ECC record at 1-1-0 with an overall 3-1-1 record. They play again Saturday at Sycamore – 7 p.m. start.
Girls Volleyball lost at Turpin Tuesday and lost at home versus Lebanon on Wednesday.
Boys Golf: The Tigers defeated Anderson by a stroke 159-160 on Tuesday. They tee it up again Saturday at the Springboro Invitational. The Tigers are 6-0 in the ECC and 7-0 overall.
Girls Golf: Lady Tigers lost Wednesday to Lebanon and will tee it up again next Wednesday, September 16, against Little Miami at Eagles Nest G.C.
Girls Tennis: The Loveland Lady Tigers tennis team defeated Mason (B) Wednesday, September 8, and stand 3-2 in ECC with a 10-2 overall record. They start a busy week on the courts Tuesday at Lebanon.
Check http://www.lovelandtigers.org for more about Loveland High School Athletics
Check http://www.eccsports.com for results, standings, and more.