If Ed Cubbage’s tenure as head coach for the Bensalem High School football team proves anything, it’s that a change in attitude can go a long way.
When he took the reins of the program at the beginning of last season, the Owls had lost 18 consecutive games. From the outside, it didn’t look like much was going to be different. The team posted a 0-10 record in his first season, and again scraped the bottom of the Suburban One League National Conference.
But Cubbage gave the players something they didn’t have before ― they started feeling like winners.
“Before he got here, we just got used to losing. That’s not how a program should be,” standout two-way senior lineman Blake Morgan said. “Coach came in here and everything changed.”
Players bought into the offseason program, Cubbage upped the tempo of practice and focused on building up the flailing team’s confidence.
After a tough loss to an 8-0 Neshaminy team in week eight where Bensalem led 19-14 at halftime, the Owls stand at 4-4 with two games left and their first shot at the playoffs in years.
“If you would have told me that in August, I would’ve taken it in a second,” Cubbage said. “We’re confident now and I think it shows.”
But the loss to Neshaminy came with an injury to the Owls’ starting quarterback Drasaun Moore. Senior cornerback Rob Fund will have to step in and head the offense the rest of the season. Fund, one of the team’s strongest defenders, will be starting on both sides of the ball.
“Before, I was just looking at defense,” Fund said. “But I can lead this offense. I know I can lead us to a lot of points.”
Cubbage has a lot of faith in him, too.
“He’s a calming influence, and runs the option very well,” the coach said. “One of the reasons Drasaun was quarterback was because Rob is such a good corner. We didn’t want to take away from our defense.”
To get that playoff berth, the Owls, 1-3 in conference play, will have to win against CR North this Friday as well as Truman next week.
The confidence is there, but the execution will have to be.
“We’re a lot better than our record looks,” Morgan said. “All the games that we played, we’ve led in. We just got to execute at the end of the game and find a way to come through.”
“We’re capable of beating any team,” he continued. “Like coach says, he’ll take our 11 over any other 11 every week.”
Friday’s game is Senior Night for the Owls. Twelve players, all at least rotation players, will move on after the season. Cubbage hopes they can get their first taste of playoff football before they do.
“We know if we get to the point where the whole school isn’t going nuts every time we win, then we’ve achieved something,” he said. “We want to get used to winning.”