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Buddy Collings: With 2-0 start, Cypress Creek's football team enters uncharted waters

September 16, 2009
Cypress Creek High School

Cypress Creek never has been 2-0 in football.

Senior middle linebackerMatt Pellino didn't know that. I'm not sure anybody at the south Orange County school did, but everybody on campus knows the Bears feel great about their start.

Creek beat Colonial 22-13„© two weeks ago and then rallied to beat University 20-19 „©last Friday on a touchdown run byJoseph Jones and an extra point by Felix Regis midway through the fourth quarter.

Both wins came at home.

"The crowd after the first home game got bigger [last week]. The sense of school pride is coming out," Pellino said Tuesday. "We worked really hard in the offseason, and it feels really good that we're winning. The atmosphere around the school, in the locker room, around the team, it's all changed."

Creek is favored to make it 3-0 in a road game against first-year East River (0-2) on Friday. That makes for a big mood swing for a program that was 5-25 the previous three seasons and was shredded by Oviedo 42-6 in a preseason game three weeks ago.

"Oviedo put it to us," said first-year head coach David Jackson, a longtime loyal assistant. "After that, we worked some of the new kids we have in. We've done a lot better job of subbing to keep our experienced guys fresh the past two weeks."

Word around Cypress Creek on Monday was that the Bears hadn't been 2-0 in a long time. But after digging through Sentinel archives, I find that 2-0 never had happened in 17 years of varsity football.

The 2004 playoff team that set a school record for wins (6-5) started 0-2.

The '94 playoff team that was 5-6 lost its opener to University.

The '93 playoff team, also 5-6, lost in week two to Dr. Phillips.

"Everybody is hyped about being 2-0, but we're not satisfied," Pellino said. "We know we've got a bigger opportunity ahead of us."

Cypress Creek, armed with only 28 players, still doesn't figure to make the playoffs in a district (6A-6) where Dr. Phillips (2-0) and Boone (1-1) are clear-cut favorites. But optimism springs eternal when you're 2-0. Especially if it's the first time.

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