“Winterboro is always a good team,” Fayetteville head coach John Limbaugh said. “They always have good players and they have a good coach—Alan Beckett. He’s a phenomenal coach, a great guy and he was a great hire for Winterboro. He’s been around football for a long time and loves football, so they’ll be well prepared for the ball game. That said our kids are hungry for a win against Winterboro. Winterboro always gives us trouble, but our kids understand what it takes to beat them. We’re going to have to play our best game to win the ball game. I do believe it can be done. Our kids are hungry for a region win—we want to go to the playoffs. They understand what it takes to do that—it takes beating good teams like Winterboro to get that done.”
Meanwhile, Winterboro head coach Alan Beckett has been careful to remind his team not to become overconfident because of their past success against Fayetteville.
“This is not your father’s Fayetteville,” Beckett said. “This is a very well coached Fayetteville team. Coach Limbaugh does an excellent job. These guys have a good thing going. They looked really good in all aspects of the game against Spring Garden, which was a team that won nine games a year ago. They just totally destroyed them. They ran the football really well. I mean, just at will. Defensively, it was impressive how they got after the ball. I was very impressed by them.”
Last year, the Bulldogs dominated, winning 38-16 while on the road.
This season, the Wolves (1-0) started week one with a lopsided 53-7 win while hosting Spring Garden.
“It was what I expected,” Limbaugh said. “I expected our kids to play well. They were ready, they were motivated, they’re eager and I expect them to win. It’s always good when you get the ‘W’ on campus by 46 points. I’m happy for our community and for our kids that they could get a little enjoyment and watch a good product.”
Asked if his team might be overconfident after a big win last week, Limbaugh did not think that would be a problem at all.
“Last week was last week,” Limbaugh said. “We were 2-8 last year. If we’re overconfident, something is really, really wrong. Our team knows that they have to work every game to accomplish anything in the game of football. In life, they realize they have to work. They believe in hard work and we strive for excellence. I don’t think overconfidence is going to be our problem.”
Meanwhile, Winterboro suffered a lopsided 59-6 loss on the road to the No. 5-ranked Maplesville Red Devils.
“It was good for our kids to see how really good programs (Maplesville) operate,” Beckett said of the loss. “I think most of our (players) think good teams just show up. Far from it. Takes lots of work. For starters, it takes coming to practice. Our kids are shocked when they don’t come to practice and don’t get to play. I won’t change until the culture changes.”
Beckett said one positive he pulled from the game was the play of Cedric McKenzie, who led the team in tackles and blocked two kicks.
“Guys like Cedric McKenzie play with lots of effort and buy into the scheme,” Beckett said. “Those kind of guys are players. Players are more important than potential.”
Beckett said his offensive line is still a work in progress.
“Our offensive line is young,” Beckett said. “Four of the five are new. Three of the five didn’t even play last year. So, I think they are improving. New players take time.”
Limbaugh expects the Winterboro offense to be a challenge because of the multiple formations implemented by the unit.
“I expect them to come out in some different formations—they get in a T formation and cross it back over in front of you and hand the ball off, they’ll run a sweep, they’ll run leads, they’ll run in the offset I (formation), they’ll get in spread and some pistol, so there are different formations we’re going to be looking at,” Limbaugh said. “We’ve practiced for all of it that we’ve seen on film. You can only practice for what you see. We’re ready for what we’ve seen.
Beckett is looking to see more effort in the team’s home opener.
“We need to continue to improve on effort,” Beckett said. “If you start giving effort and you make a commitment in that direction, you have a chance for results. At some point, results will get better if you continue to try.”
Limbaugh said the key for his team is execution.
“I expect our players to do their job,” Limbaugh said. “It doesn’t matter about the formations. It’s all about who wants to win. It’s who wants to hit, who wants the ball game. It doesn’t matter if I go over this with every coach and player if you don’t execute, then you don’t win a ball game. If you execute, you’ll win a ball game. We need to go out there and execute and do what we need to do.”
Fayetteville plays at Winterboro tonight at 7 p.m.