“It feels really good,” he said Friday after leading the Trojans to their first 4-0 start since 1980.
South Central defeated Plymouth, 22-7, in a key Firelands Conference matchup Friday, its first league game of the season. The Big Red fell to 2-2 and 0-1 in the FC.
It’s a winning mentality in Greenwich now.
“Obviously that’s the goal coming into the year. We’ve been trying to take it week by week and that’s what our kids did this week,” Fickiesen said.
“This is what we preached all summer: We have this. This is possible,” the South Central coach added. “I know there are going to be a lot of outside people who are going to say, ‘Wow, South Central,’ but … we expected this. This is our new mentality. This is the culture we’re trying to build here and I’m so proud of these kids for how hard they played.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the Trojans — ranked No. 12 in the Division VII Associated Press state poll — were the first team to get on the scoreboard with 8:19 left until halftime.
Senior Tycen Cooper intercepted a pass from Plymouth quarterback Walker Ellliot. Cooper took it 65 yards for the pick-six. South Central’s two-point attempt failed, but the home team led 6-0.
“Our defense was phenomenal tonight. And I think they had a bit of a chip on their shoulder (since) they gave up 56 (points) to them last year. We were a little bit embarrassed by them; we didn’t want to (repeat that),” Fickiesen said.
The coach admitted the Trojans had some retribution in mind for this year’s game vs. Plymouth. The Big Red won last year’s game 56-29 at home.
“Yeah, of course because we went over there last year and they put it on us,” Fickiesen said.
For much of the second half, the Trojans depended on the legs of junior quarterback Evan Legg. He ran the ball in the final quarters 12 times for 67 yards. Through the air for the night, he had 167 yards and a touchdown; 126 of those yards came in the first half.
South Central scored in the third quarter Friday on a 17-yard pass from Legg to sophomore wide receiver Lameraux. Legg ran in the two-pointer for a 14-0 lead with 5:30 on the clock.
Plymouth had no passing yards in the game. Elliot only had three passing attempts and and two were interceptions — both to Lameraux.
“It’s a very tough offense to prepare for. You don’t see it (much) and they run it really well and our kids just played really hard,” Fickiesen said.
Cooper scored his second touchdown of the game with 6:01 left in the game. After Lameraux galloped 47 yards on an interception, Cooper took the ball into the end zone on the next play with a 5-yard run. Legg completed a pass for the two-point conversion and South Central was up 22-0.
Plymouth got its only points on a short, 63-yard drive, which was assisted by a host of South Central penalties.
“We gave them 30 yards in penalties in personal fouls, which we have to get cleaned up, but (otherwise) we held them scoreless,” Fickiesen said. “Our defense was unbelievable.”
Big Red coach Mark Genders didn’t see any fire in his team.
“The (the Trojans) were ready to play tonight. We didn’t play with any emotion tonight and my front got handled,” he said.
“We had a great week of practice. For some reason, we didn’t show up tonight. We played with a lack of emotion and they played with a whole heckuva a lot of it. Ultimately, it comes down to your fronts in how you lose and win football games and my front got whipped.”
Fickiesen is emphasizing a winning culture for South Central, but he knows he can’t settle on being undefeated.
“We’re not going to be OK with this (win). We’re going to celebrate a little bit tonight, but then we are right onto Monroeville. This is conference play; anyone can beat anyone,” he said.
Each team faces FC opponents next week. South Central travels to Monroeville while Plymouth hosts St. Paul.
Plymouth 0 0 0 7 — 7
S. Central 0 6 8 8 — 22
SC — Tycen Cooper 65 INT run (two-point failed)
SC — David Lameraux 17 pass from Evan Legg (two-point)
SC — Cooper 5 run (two-point)
P — Lukas Montgomery 2 run (kick)