Kansas City, Mo Baker football coach John Frangoulis wasn't carrying a book of matches with him last week at practice.
But the sixth-year coach's Wildcats might need a fire lit under them after back-to-back losses in winnable games.
But Frangoulis said he wasn't going to do anything extraordinary to motivate a team which began the preseason ranked No. 13 in NAIA Div. II.
That's because his team is regulating itself.
"Our kids are embarrassed," Frangoulis said. "That's a credit to them that they are embarrassed; they're not used to losing."
Despite such strong sentiment from his players, the Wildcats, who were 9-2 last season, sit at 0-2 after dropping two halftime leads in losses to Peru State and Evangel.
"It's disappointing. We had both game's lead at halftime," Frangoulis said. "What do you tell them?"
Well, Frangoulis says he doesn't have much to say, other than Baker will be more than ready for tonight's game against Avila, which kicks off at 7 p.m. at Rockhurst College.
The Eagles are 0-1 after coach Tim Johnson's team suffered a 33-23 loss to William Jewel, Johnson's alma mater, in their first-ever Heart of America Conference game.
"I don't know much about them," Frangoulis said. "But no matter the team or what field we play on, we're going to have to be ready."
The Wildcats seemed ready the last two weeks, jumping out to early leads but eventually allowing both opponents back after horrific second half slides.
Baker was up 14-0 on Peru State and held a 14-13 advantage on Evangel before the wheels fell off.
The Wildcats have given up 37 unanswered second-half points while only gaining 113 yards offensively over the same time.
Yet Frangoulis isn't pinning the blame on anyone, certainly not sophomore quarterback Martin Updike, who is adapting to his new role.
"He isn't the problem," Frangoulis said. "He's doing pretty well, in fact."
And it's not as if Frangoulis feels his team is not giving the needed effort.
"We have nine games left and anything can happen," Frangoulis said. "I told them we might as well get one, and we're going to do that Saturday."
Peru State in Ellinwood L, 14-21 OT (0-1)
Evangel L, 14-29 (0-2)
Today at Avila, 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 Culver-Stockton, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 at Lindenwood, 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 29 Graceland, 2 p.m. (homecoming)
Oct. 13 at William Jewell, 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 20 at MidAmerica Nazarene, 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 27 Missouri Valley, 1:30 p.m.
Nov. 3 at Central Methodist, 1 p.m.
Nov. 10 Benedictine, 1:30 p.m.