Losing is never an easy thing and losing a playoff game is tough. Getting shut out at home in the playoffs could be potentially grueling.
But Lincoln-Sudbury football head coach Tom Lopez, he's a different kind of guy.
"Hopefully we can pick up on some of the positive enthusiasm we ended with last year," said Lopez of his team's 21-0 loss at the hands of the Super Bowl champions Gloucester. "That was to be expected. They were 11-0 coming into the game, we were coming off of a 5-6 season and realistically, they were better than us. I told the guys, if we had played them 10 times we probably would have lost ten times. Usually, I'd say if we play somebody 10 times, we could lose nine and win one, with Gloucester I don't know if we would."
When asked why his team would not have won one of the contests, Lopez did not hesitate - his team was simply outmuscled.
"Basically, the difference between us and Gloucester, was from tight end, to the other tackle," Lopez said. "We weren't tough, and Gloucester was just moving us off the ball. We'd move the ball a little bit, get a five-yard penalty or a holding call and we couldn't make up the penalty. Gloucester would have a 10-yard holding penalty and they'd still make the first down."
The feeling wasn't so settling for returning senior captain Kyle Ashley.
"I had that bitter taste in my mouth from losing to Gloucester, having them doing their fight song on our field after not scoring a point was really disappointing."
Ashley, the team's starting center, will miss the first few weeks of game play because of an elbow injury, but Lopez has a number of players that he is confident can get the ball back to senior quarterback Matthew Cahill.
While the Warriors have a senior-heavy team (30), they also have 22 juniors, but two standout for coach Lopez: Brian Carroll and Chris Giorgio.
"They were sophomores and the only kids that went both ways last year," said Lopez. "This, with a junior class last year of 8 kids who had started as sophomores. Giorgio and Carroll, week in and week out, every down, went both ways."
Lopez said that while the senior class is very talented, Carroll and Giorgio are still exceptional, and they haven't limited their skills to just football.
During the offseason, Giorgio played on the L-S lacrosse team that surprised everyone by making it into the playoffs. While the boys' lacrosse team bowed out to St. John's Prep in the quarterfinals of the D1 tournament, like the football team, the lacrosse squad's run was an improbable one.
Carroll, on the other hand, played for the state championship baseball team. Lopez attributed the winning that swept across the school as a "good cycle", but Carroll sees it as more of a byproduct of the school's coaching staffs and players working together.
"We have a number of athletes that go out for several sports and our athletic department is good about staying on guys, keeping us in shape to make sure that we can be competitive in all sports," Carroll said.
Lopez said that he will still run the Wing-T offense this year, but with his dynamic backers a constant threat out of the backfield and talented skill players lined up outside of the tackles, he will look to open up the field and bet on the house.
"With guys like Carroll, Giorgio, [running back Dan] Cellucci, [receiver John] Harris and Cahill, that a can make people miss in the open field, we are going to make teams play in spaces," added Lopez, who admitted that the Wing-T has been his meat and potatoes for years.
But with the personnel that he's got, it might be time to open up the Warriors offense more regularly. Last year, the Warriors were not expected to win the Dual County Large, so now that they are the team favored to take it, Lopez wants to makes sure that teams do not get comfortable with his sets and that he gives his players the best possible chance to win games with their play .
"If they are going to try and cover the other guys with a linebacker and a strong safety, that's going to be to our advantage. I like the advantage of our kids one on one."