From the sidelines every week, former Tracy High coach Wayne Schneider sees the good and bad of each Bulldog football team.
Schneider — who coached the Bulldogs from 1965 to 1994, including the 1987 and 1982 Sac-Joaquin Section championship teams, with four years off in the early 1970s — said Tracy’s team was primed for success this year.
He said that coach Matt Shrout put into practice a principle all coaches should learn: Better to lose competitive games to good teams than to win lopsided victories against weak teams.
“My belief is that you should play the tough schedule, because if you plan on playing in the playoffs, you’ve got to get used to playing good teams,” Schneider said.
Tracy started its season 0-2, the first game a 14-6 loss to Freedom of Oakley on Aug. 29. The next week, the Bulldogs lost 28-14 at Clayton Valley Charter in Concord.
Freedom eventually got as far as the second round of the North Coast Section Division I playoffs. Clayton Valley, the champion of the Diablo Valley Athletic League, is still undefeated after 13 games going into tonight’s North Coast Section Division II championship game against Concord.
After those first two games, Schneider said he could see the Bulldog players change their attitude on the way to the 10-3 record they will take into Saturday’s game.
“When they played Clayton Valley, they realized they could play with anybody and they could hit with anybody. Each week, they did that, and they got better and better,” Schneider said.
Tracy’s only other defeat this year was a 49-29 loss to St. Mary’s of Stockton, the champion of the Tri-City Athletic League, on Oct. 24. St. Mary’s plays tonight against Grant High of Sacramento for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II title.
The highest-scoring game on Tracy’s schedule was against Jesuit in the section quarterfinals, 48-38, on Nov. 22. The closest games were both against Turlock: 43-41 on Sept. 26 and 21-19 in the first round of the playoffs on Nov. 14.