CEDAR FALLS — Albia coach Jerry Staton is a different kind of coach and his unusual approach to his chosen craft has produced a special Blue Demon football team this season.
And, perhaps not surprisingly, the second-ranked Blue Demons have approached their Class 2A semifinal game against an impressive Waukon team today at the UNI-Dome in a fashion that makes them an anomaly in the world of high school football.
"We're unique in our preparation," Staton said. "Our goal is not to beat Waukon. Our goal is to be our best."
That statement illuminates the veteran coach's philosophy: Play your best because in the end, that's all you can do.
"If we can go out and play our best and they still come out on top, we will shake their hands and congratulate them," Staton said.
One benefit to this approach lies in its ability to act as a healthy tonic to the anxiety such big games can exact on players.
"When we do that [concentrate on being our best], we play with less pressure," Staton said. "What we want to do is try hard on every play and let the score take care of itself."
The coach said tonight's game isn't that different than the Blue Demons three previous playoff games.
"Really this game isn't any bigger than Louisa-Muscatine was," he said. "They had to win that one to go on to the next one. If we wouldn't have played well against Louisa-Muscatine, we wouldn't have been able to play against Mid-Prairie. And if we wouldn't have played well against Mid-Prairie, we wouldn't have been able to play against Mediapolis."