Neenah knows it can't afford to slip up the rest of the way

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Neenah knows it needs a win this week at Appleton North to stay in the conference race. (WLUK)

NEENAH (WLUK) -- How well a football team performs in the trenches goes a long way as to how good it will be.

Neenah entered this season looking to rebuild an offensive and defensive line that returned no starters from last season and knew how important it would be to fill the holes effectively.

The Rockets found out the hard way in a surprising Week 2 loss to Appleton East that it is not easy, but with that loss came a lesson.

"It is a process and all of a sudden they have to realize they are the man now and we also have to establish that in practice and that's where we have to do a better job," coach Steve Jung said. "We really felt that Appleton East game is a learning curve for us and made us much better."

"That game we really came out flat," senior Sam Jung said. "We didn't bring energy, we weren't physical off the ball and the next week we were physical off the ball. We have to bring a better mentality every week, every day at practice. Make sure we're always improving."

Neenah's goal at the start of the season was to win the Valley Football Association South Division and with the loss to East the Rockets know every game now is a must-win, including Friday at Appleton North in the Game Time Game of the Week.

"That's been the goal since the start of the season and we just focus one game at a time," Sam Jung said. "We have big games, we have bigger games down the road. We have a big game this week.

"We just have to focus this week and we just have to focus this week and when this week's done, focus on the next."

Neenah has future games against the likes of Kimberly and Fond du Lac, so winning out will be a difficult task. Nonetheless, Steve Jung is like his son, he's also thinking about a league title.

"No question, no question about it," he said. "This game, the rest of our season is very important if we're looking at a conference championship."

With a win Friday against Appleton North the Rockets will remain in the hunt.

Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay