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After starting last season with a 1-4 record, the Northwestern State University football team rallied to pull to a 5-5 record and played for the Southland Conference title, leading Stephen F. Austin 7-3 after the first quarter.
But the last three quarters proved too much for the Demons and a 36-13 loss ended any hopes that Northwestern State could participate in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
Now that the 2011 season is close, Demon head football coach Bradley Dale Peveto is again touring the state drumming up support for the Northwestern State football program as the Demon Victory Tour passed through Lafayette Thursday night.
“This is a great opportunity to take Northwestern State on the road,” said Peveto. “We have fans all over the state and a lot of fans in the Lafayette and New Iberia area. It’s a good chance to come down here and talk football with people that love us.”
Peveto and his entire coaching staff, including former Franklin Senior High standout De’Von Lockett, who coaches cornerbacks, are bringing the message of Demon football to the state and at the same time reconnect with areas to help in recruiting players to go to Natchitoches.
“We get a lot of support from this area,” said Peveto, who admits to being a little surprised to how last season ended considering how it started. “From starting 1-4 to ending up playing for the conference title, yes, I was surprised.
“But what I was happy about was how the team stuck together. We won only one of our first 16 games (the team went 0-11 in 2009) and then the last week of the season we’re playing for the conference title. It just shows how if you keep working hard and doing the right things, good things will happen.”
What Peveto is most looking forward to as the 2011 season approaches is not so much improving on last season’s record, rather, he just wants the team to get better with each day and each practice.
He wants the football team to improve in the areas of running the football better, improving the turnover ratio and eliminating foolish penalties.
“Those three things have been our Achilles’ heel the last three years and it affected us winning games,” said Peveto. “We did much better in the spring with those three things.
“If we can carry that over into the fall, then we’ll be a good football team.”
One thing that Peveto is not talking about, at least not right now, is the fact that Northwestern State travels to LSU on Sept. 10.
“Everyone else is talking about it and they should,” said Peveto. “But right now, we’re focused on our Thursday night, Sept. 1 home opener against Delta State.
“They are a good football team, one that is always in the Division II playoffs. Let’s play them first, then we’ll look at the next playing date.”
BY NEAL MCCLELLAND, The Daily Iberian