VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Ocean Lakes, a perennial beach district powerhouse had their season ended in unfamiliar fashion in 2016. The Dolphins started last season 5-1, before dropping the last four contests and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
Fueled by the sour taste of not partaking in November postseason play, the Dolphins have opened up the 2017 season unbeaten at 4-0.
"We told them we didn't want to have that same feeling that we had last year when we lost to Landstown," said senior linebacker Jaleel Powell. "He [coach] told us about that feeling and we said we don't want to have that feeling anymore."
The team remembers the late season struggles, and has a refined approach as the second half of this season approaches. "We've put respect on every team that we lost to last season, which is this week [Cox]," said defensive lineman Jaevon Becton, a Georgia commit.
Cox, the defending beach district champions opened up their season with a lopsided loss to Bayside, but have since reeled off two strong wins. At 2-1, the Falcons are focused on creating an identity for the 2017 team, not last season's. "It was a wake-up call to let us know that, that team isn't here anymore," said junior defensive back Tayvion Robinson.
Falcons head coach Bill Stachelski admitted this year's team is young, but has the potential to be a contender in the district again.
"I think the best thing that could've happened to us was that first game against Bayside when we got the brakes beat off us," said Stachelski. "It opened up our eyes and made the kids realize they can't rest on the laurels of last year's success."
News 3 will have highlights from this game and more Friday on the award-winning Locker Room Show.