Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



Bulldogs started hot but couldn't hang on as the Rams pulled away in the second half.

PMG FILE PHOTO - The Culver football team finished 1-7 overall and 1-5 in Special District 2 play. Head coach Brian Silbernagel is optimistic about the future, though, noting that the team will be senior-heavy next season.The Culver football season wrapped up last weekend as the Bulldogs fell 40-8 on the road against Regis. Culver dropped to 1-7 overall and 1-5 in league play.

Though the long season did not conclude with a win over the Rams, Culver head coach Brian Silbernagel was encouraged by his squad's first-half performance.

"We played very good football the first half," said Silbernagel. "We tackled in open space. We were down 8 to 14 at halftime. Probably our best all-around half of football that we've played."

"In the second half," Silbernagel continued, "they kind of penned us deep on the kickoff. We didn't get the completions, dropped some passes that were wide open for touchdowns."

"For one half of football," he noted, "we looked real good."

The first-half score came on a long Ethan Russo rushing touchdown. The junior took the handoff from quarterback Logan Macy and scampered more than 60 yards into the end zone. It was the team's longest offensive play since the season opener at Weston-McEwen, according to Silbernagel.

With their playoff spot on the line, Regis regrouped in the second half and scored 26 unanswered points against the Bulldogs defense. For their efforts, the Rams earned a third-place finish and the No. 16 seed in the upcoming OSAA 2A Football State Championship.

Though the Bulldogs were forced to watch their opponents celebrate a postseason berth, Silbernagel says his team is growing in confidence and could be throwing their own playoff party in the near future.

"At halftime, they were thinking, 'OK, we've got this,'" said the Culver coach. "It didn't turn out that way, but they know the things they need to work on to get better, to compete with teams in our league and eventually beat those teams."

"We'll be a pretty senior-heavy team next year," Silbernagel added. "I think we can start to change pretty rapidly and having more marks in the win column."

Silbernagel hopes that next season will also bring more stability and better turnout. For a myriad of reasons, players missed practices and game time throughout this year. The result was that the coaching staff had to shuffle players around nearly every game.

"We never had two weeks in a row that we started the exact same offensive line in the exact same positions," said Silbernagel. "That's crazy."

The future looks brighter, though, and much more stable.

"Next year, I'm looking forward to having five seniors potentially starting from Week 0 moving forward," he noted. "We can lean heavily on a senior offensive line and defensive line."

For those big boys up front to be at their best, though, they will need to get bigger and stronger. The same goes for the team's skill players. The answer, says Silbernagel, is right under his players' noses.

"There really has been nonexistent commitment to the weight room the last few years," said the coach. "That's something I'm taking on. I'm going to start challenging my players to be in the weight room."

"Talk is cheap," Silbernagel added. "You can say that you want to win, but until you start doing the things that other teams are doing, you can't beat them."

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