They say all good things must come to an end. Glen Oaks proved bad things don’t last when it snapped a 12-game losing streak with a 14-8 win over Thrive Academy last Friday.
For a program that had only won three games, a total that includes a forfeit, since 2015, it was a small but important step. Since taking over the program in January, first-year coach Sean Beauchamp has worked hard to instill a positive attitude in players and the Glen Oaks community.
“The kids were glad to get the win, but they didn’t really celebrate because they felt there were things they could have done better,” Beauchamp said. “I always tell them it's a process and it won’t happen overnight. We’re going to take our lumps, but we want to get better every week.”
One unit that didn’t take lumps on Friday was the Glen Oaks defense, which forced three turnovers. Two of those came in the fourth quarter when the Class 3A Panthers extended a 6-0 lead to 14-0, and held off the 1A Bulldogs in the closing minutes.
Freshman linebacker Kendrick Johnson authored the first fourth-quarter turnover with a sack. He also forced a fumble on the play, which he scooped up and returned 40 yards before being tackled inside the Thrive 5. That led to quarterback Tyrich Cox’s second rushing touchdown of the game, and a 14-0 Glen Oaks lead.
Johnson said the Panthers came out with inspiration after losing to Belaire the previous week.
“We weren’t supposed to lose to Belaire,” he said. “We had to go out and do something different. We were motivated.”
Glen Oaks also got big plays out of Tavoris Harris, a two-way player who sees time at wide receiver and defensive back. He caught two passes for 15 yards, but excelled more on defense with two interceptions.
The second pick came with less than three minutes to play in the Glen Oaks end zone, and helped seal the win for his team.
“They were on about the 20, and I just used the technique that coach taught me,” Harris said. “When the ball was in the air I just reached up and went for it.
“We could have scored more. We left a lot of points on the field, but at the end of the day we still got the ‘W’.”
The feeling of being happy, but not satisfied, was echoed by Cox, who transferred into the Glen Oaks program after playing for McKinley last season.
“We’re not satisfied with how we played,” Cox said. “We’ve got the potential to do more but we’re not performing like we can. We need to clean up all of the mistakes.”
Realizing its potential is heady stuff for a school that had trouble fielding teams with 30 players in recent years. The Panthers roster features 52 players this year.
“The biggest hurdle (coming in) was players,” said Beauchamp, whose team has 12 seniors. “We had about 17 players and now we’ve got 50-plus, and we’re young. I’m not going to say we have all of these super-duper athletes because a lot of kids that live in our area end up going to other schools, but the numbers are up. Its a matter of changing the mindset and the culture.”
Picking up a win over Thrive Academy can only help Beauchamp achieve that goal.