Du Quoin Determined to Make Playoffs

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By WSIL Sports

DU QUOIN -- Du Quoin head coach Al Martin hasn't been giving a lot of motivational speeches this year.

He doesn't need to.

His players still remember how season ended.

"It's just been killing me, people thinking low of us, that Du Quoin's not the team anymore but we just want to show people that we're still there," Indians senior running back Shayne Baxter said.

With a week nine loss to Murphysboro, the Indians finished the season 5-4 and failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 1983.

"We've really worked hard this summer and winter to get better and prove to everybody that it's not going to happen again," Indians senior quarterback Brenden Fred said.

"It's made us hungry," Martin said. "I think they're all very hungry and I think it's kind of a feeling of starting over and that's kind of the attitude we want."

Starting from scratch is new for Martin. The longtime Du Quoin coach has two state titles to his name to go along with four runner-up finishes. A week after the season ended, Martin went back to the drawing board.

"There was so many things that we needed to improve upon. We met together as a staff, had a couple of meetings and then we got to work."

Martin spent the off-season encouraging his players to spend more time in the weight room. He also put more pressure on the seniors to lead both on and off the field.

"It's fuel to the fire," Fred said. "We want to keep getting better and prove to everyone that once again we're here to play."

"We're excited about the first game of the season, I know the kids are. I know as a head coach, I've probably been as excited this year as I've been since maybe the first year that I coached," Martin said.
Marion Regional
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