Here's the interview I conducted with Concord's football coach Mike Kellar.
When I wrote for the Princeton Times, I basically did what I do with Coach Kellar each week, but with Princeton High School's coach, Ted Spadaro. I always sort of dreaded talking to him after his team lost, because he was never in a good mood. I kind of had that same feeling as I was heading to Coach Kellar's office, I was hoping he wouldn't be unpleasant. Luckily, he was very personable to me and showed no "ill effects" from the weekend's 28-27 loss.
Q&A is below
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Interview with Mike Kellar, Concord's football coach
Chris Slater: You guys lost 28-27 this weekend. What happened in that game?
Mike Kellar: Well, we came out and started very fast. We preach about starting fast. First half couldn’t have went any better. You go into halftime with 24-0 lead, come out in the third quarter and exchange possessions and get a field goal to increase the lead to 27-0. You’re feeling pretty good about yourself at that point. Then, the next time we kick it off to them and they run it back for a touchdown. They had a very good kick returner. We’ve struggled all season with our kickoff coverage. Now it’s 27-7, and that gave Glenville a little bit of life. We missed a field goal, and they came out and scored three touchdowns. A very heartbreaking loss.
CS: You guys had the huge lead going through most of the game. What did the team do right to get that lead?
MK: We came out and we ran the ball well. Brian Kennedy ended up with 41 carries, 220 yards. We rushed for 281 yards on the day. Defense was flying around; they were playing fast, playing hard. They were playing physical. Some positive turnovers would get us our first touchdown. At the end of three quarters, they had 100 yards of offense, and then in fourth quarter, we gave up 208, so... It was basically what you would think: we played well up front, on both sides of the ball. Some guys made some plays and our secondary helped, we were good in the kicking game. That’s how you get a lead like that.
CS: Glenville kind of took over in the fourth. What did they do right and what did Concord do wrong?
MK: Well, basically, we didn’t make first downs in the fourth quarter when we had chances to. We held the ball for nine minutes in the fourth quarter. When you have a lead like that, what you try to do is win the “time-of-possession battle.” We missed a field goal in the fourth quarter that really, really hurt us. And, we just didn’t tackle on defense. They made the plays and we didn’t.
CS: There’s a picture on the athletic website that kind of looks like you’re arguing with the ref. Were there any complaints about the officiating this time?
MK: No, not really. There’s always some calls that coaches and officials will disagree on. That picture’s actually from the week before.
MK: [laughs] Yeah.
CS: What did you say to the team after the loss?
MK: I told them that we can’t lose sight of all the good things we’ve done. But, on the same token, we need to understand that there’s so many more things that we need to do better. We need to grow up as a program. These are the “dog days,” the “growing pains.” This week coming, we’ll see what we’re really made of. I’m not just talking about up on the scoreboard with the loss on Saturday. But, how we respond with this amount of adversity. This loss really hurts. And, we’ll see if we’re gonna be a team that whines about it or if we can come back from it and go back and play.
CS: How’s the conference looking? Are Charleston and West Liberty still on top?
MK: It’s still Charleston and West Liberty. They both won this weekend. They should be playing eventually. When they do, one will be [number] one in the league and the other will be [number] two.
CS: You host Seton Hill this weekend. What are your thoughts on this Homecoming game?
MK: It’s Homecoming. We’ve got a lot of alums that will be coming back to see us, to come back and watch our kids play. I’m very appreciative of that. We look forward to it. Seton Hill is a 1-6 team that made the playoffs a year ago. They’ve got to be the best 1-6 team in the country. They’re very good offensively. Their defense has been so-so so far this year. They’ve got the talent, they’re just young. They’re trying to rebuild from that playoff team they had a year ago. A very well-coached team. We’re gonna have to show up and play.
CS: What are your thoughts on the Homecoming week in general?
MK: You know, we’re excited about it being Homecoming. There’s some things we have to do a little bit differently, but we’re not going to allow it to take away from our preparation. I think it’s kind of neat when the student body gets involved with football games. There’ll be a parade and a pep rally and all those usual things that come with Homecoming. It’s something to be excited about. It should be a very big crowd, a very good atmosphere. I hope that we go out and live up to the expectations.
CS: Who were your players of the game?
MK: Offensively, we gave it to the Offensive Line. The entire Offensive Line. Defensively, it was … who the hell was it? Special teams, it was Josh Miller. Defensively, it was Aaron Fylthe.
CS: How about the scouts? [red-shirt freshmen who participate in practices]
MK: Offensively, it was John Mason. Defensively was Xavier Jones. Kicking game was David Wyley.
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Coach Kellar has mentioned for the last few weeks how Charleston and West Liberty are the two teams to beat in the division. Both teams are presently in the rankings for Top Division II teams in the nation. Charleston (7-0) is number 11. They are sandwiched between a team from Georgia and a team from Pennsylvania. West Liberty (6-1) is number 21. They are sandwiched between a team from Kansas and a team from Texas.
West Liberty and Charleston play each other October 24, at Charleston. Charleston defeated Concord earler this year, 52-14. Concord closes out the season, Nov. 7, against West Liberty.
If you have any questions or comments about this interview, feel free to leave them. If you would like to suggest questions for a future interview, leave those as well.