Marshall defeated in state playoffs

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Marshall football had a good regular season under first-year head coach Jarve Lewis-Bey, going 8-1 and winning the Chicago Conference. Then came the state playoffs and an early exit with a 10-6 loss to Evergreen Park.

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Marshall football had a good regular season under first-year head coach Jarve Lewis-Bey, going 8-1 and winning the Chicago Conference. Then came the state playoffs and an early exit with a 10-6 loss to Evergreen Park.

Lewis-Bey came over to Marshall, or better said he came home to Marshall, (having grown up on the west side) from a five-year coaching tenure at Senn High School on the north side of the city. He attained some success there and was confident he and his coaches could win at Marshall.

“I kind of expected us to play well here,” Lewis-Bey said. “I knew the coaches I brought here with me were willing to work, and we were gonna bring that willingness to work hard to the kids, no matter who showed up for practice – I knew we were going to be better than the 2-7 that we were last year.”

Marshall did improve, and could have advanced to the second round of the state playoffs had it not been for a couple of key plays in the Evergreen Park contest where his team lost focus of their on-field responsibilities.

“Our kids sometimes rely on their athletic ability and forget the fundamentals that

they’ve been taught. All it takes is one undisciplined play to cost a game,” he said.

Unfortunately for the Commandos, playing in the state playoffs cost them a chance to play for a city title. That means the end of football for seniors, but the beginning of another phase of life for them, Lewis-Bey said.

“The players were hurt because this chapter in their lives has closed. This one has closed but another one has opened up – now we have to work on getting you into college,” he said. “My vision is to get as many kids in school as possible. We would like to always win, but I need you to go to school most of all.”

Building a quality football program at a basketball powerhouse school like Marshall is a little less challenging in 2011 than it might have been in the recent past. The school has a new football field that makes the game of football much more inviting than past years when they had to practice at Garfield Park.

“We don’t have to worry about glass and rocks on the field, and we can go right outside and practice, we have a beautiful facility here and it’s a great thing to have,” Lewis-Bey said.

But Chicago Public League teams continue to lose in the early rounds of the state playoffs. Many theories have been presented and tested as to why CPL teams with so many talented athletes fail to advance in the state tournament, and Lewis-Bey has his as well.

“CPS schools are watered down,” he said. “In the suburban schools they have one school for the town. All of the kids from the elementary and Park District Leagues often play at that one school. But just on the west side,we have several schools like Al Raby, Marshall, Westinghouse, Manly and Crane. We don’t feed the players into just one school.”

The coach, however, offers no excuses for not performing well when the stakes are highest in the playoffs.

“Get your film and study,” focus on your opponent, and hope your kids come to play,” he said.

Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender

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