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At 4-0, Stevenson football enjoying best start in school history

Johns Hopkins isn't the only area Division III program with an untarnished record in 2014.

Stevenson is 4-0 overall and 3-0 in the Middle Atlantic Conference and earned votes in the latest American Football Coaches Association poll. It's the first time the program has won its first four games of the season, and the team has already matched single-season records in overall victories and league wins set last year.

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Considering that the Mustangs were 8-22 overall and 6-20 in the conference, the current run might be shocking to some, but not to coach Ed Hottle.

"It's certainly a great thing for our program and a great thing for our university, but I'm not surprised," he said Wednesday morning. "I've always thought that we're capable of playing football at a pretty high level. A lot of hard work goes into it. We don't talk about it a whole lot. The primary focus for us this week is preparing for Lycoming [on Saturday]."

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Asked why the team doesn't talk about the sudden success, Hottle said, "It's got to be a forward focus. In the grand scheme of things, those were just four football games, and in our conference, you've got to win eight, nine or 10 to get where we want to go. So we don't talk about it a whole lot because it's over. For us, it's the forward focus and preparing for the next opponent. That's the next challenge in front of us. When it's all over – hopefully in mid-to-late December – we can talk about bit a little bit. But right now, our focus is 100 percent forward."

Hottle said he gives himself and the coaching staff about eight hours to enjoy a win before meeting Sunday morning to grade players and prepare for upcoming opponents. The players get a longer window to revel in victories, but Hottle said he doesn't think the 4-0 start has bred something other than optimism in the locker room.

"I would say that it's some much-needed self-confidence," he said. "These guys have put a lot of time and effort in to this program. We've got some guys that have been here for five years. Some of them put off graduation and put off real life to see this mission. We're fortunate to have some strong upperclassmen leadership, but I think it's nice to see them able to draw some confidence from all of the hard work and some of the things we've done up to this point."

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