So, as the first-year coach prepped his team for its second game, Friday at Centennial, his goals were clear.
“We talked with the kids this week about the first rule of winning football, and that is don’t beat yourself,” said Svehla, who took the reins from Bill Stewart after last season. “We violated that rule last week with missed assignments early and way too many penalties.”
“So, this week, we are focusing on us, cleaning up those mistakes and not digging ourselves into that early hole.”
Trailing 14-0 to Lambert last Friday, Svehla said the early hole forced Etowah (0-1) away from its game plan of establishing a strong running game. Instead, the Eagles took to the air in their comeback effort, throwing the ball 38 times, and cut the margin to 14-7 before eventually falling 14 yards short of the game-tying score.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a team throw the ball 38 times in my life,” Svehla said, laughing, “and that definitely won’t be the game plan this week. But I was really proud of how these kids responded in the second half (against Lambert).”
Etowah will take that second-half momentum to Roswell to face Centennial (0-1), a team that is the polar opposite of the Eagles’ Week 1 opponent.
The Knights are breaking in a first-year coach themselves in Jeff Carlberg, a former assistant at Alpharetta and Lassiter.
With Carlberg came a pass-happy, no-huddle spread passing attack that his former schools found rich success with in recent years.
“Playing and knowing our assignments is key against the spread,” Svehla said. “A lot of times, they are trying to create chaos, and they can get you lined up a yard or two off your landmark. So, staying disciplined has been (a focus in practice).”
Offensively, Etowah will try to get on track by establishing the run against a Centennial defense that yielded nearly 400 rushing yards in a 42-13 loss to Roswell — a team that operates from the same I-formation set that Etowah employs.
“There are some positives there, with (Roswell) running a similar offense, but we’ll do some things differently, too,” Svehla said. “I simply hope to execute what we do, stay disciplined and don’t make the mistakes we made last week.”