Rob Scheidt saw something different in his Merced football team as they prepared for Fresno Edison last week.
Practices were more intense. The focus during the week increased. The energy level was off the charts.
It all culminated in Merced's first win of the season, a dominating 47-20 performance.
Scheidt would like to see all those things carry over into tonight's showdown with Los Banos.
The two teams will square off at Merced College's Stadium '76 at 7:30 p.m.
The question is how do you bottle up that energy and get the same performance from your players every week?
"They're high school kids, they have a lot of stuff going on," Scheidt said. "If I could come up with that formula I'd be a legend like Mike Sparks."
Merced quarterback Rudy Monteon saw the same thing.
"I noticed a difference," said Monteon, who threw for three touchdowns and ran for another against Edison. "We were all focused and into it. We have to have the same thing happen this week. We have to go out and execute at the same time. We know what we have to do."
Los Banos coach Dennis Stubbs knows he's going to have to find a way to slow down Monteon.
Stubbs' boys are still getting over a heartbreaking 21-20 loss to Dos Palos in last week's Westside War.
"Obviously they were devastated," Stubbs said. "We don't know what our identity is yet. We've said all along we're either young or inexperienced. We'll see how they bounce back. We're going to play a much more talented team this week."
This is the fourth straight road game for a Los Banos team that is searching for its first win against Merced since Stubbs came over from Golden Valley four years ago.
"On the bright side, we have a bye next week before we start league," Stubbs said. "Defensively, we're playing well. We're just missing something. Offensively, we need to run the ball a little more and we need guys to step up and make plays when it counts."
Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at 385-2462 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.