“You’ve got to have effort just to have a chance to compete and win,” Beckett said. “It was just excited to see them give a lot of effort and giver us a chance. A lot of guys really went hard. Plays and technique are kind of meaningless if your effort is not there. I sure was proud—from Casey Twymon, from Colby Wheeler, from DeShawn Garrett, Detrica Gaddis, and Jaylen Ashley and Kenyatta Brown. Some of those guys—and there were more—gave a great effort. We weren’t getting a lot of effort before. You have a chance to compete when you’re giving effort and you’re saying ‘Hey, whatever the results are, I’m going to go all out. We’ll see what the results are at the end.’”
The Bulldogs return home to face the team that defeated TC Central last week 24-6, the St. Jude Pirates. However, this game won’t be a true home game, as it will be played at Burgess-Snow Field at Jacksonville State University.
“We thought it would be excited for the program,” Beckett said. “We thought it would be exciting to expose kids to a college campus for one thing. Obviously, most kids don’t move on to play college football, so it will give them a chance to play in that kind of environment. That’s definitely exciting, especially when they refurbish one side of the stadium. You have the Astroturf and all. It’s a really nice stadium. For some, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be in the locker room of the Jacksonville State players and the training facilities. We’re definitely excited.”
The Pirates enter the game with a 1-2 overall record (1-1) on the heels of a 27-14 region loss to Loachapoka.
“They’re really good,” Beckett said of St. Jude. “They beat TC. They lost to Montgomery Catholic, which is a really good program. They’re really athletic. They reload year in and year out with really good athletes. Their tailback No.5 is an explosive breakaway runner and he makes a lot of plays.”
Winterboro lost last year’s contest 46-14. Beckett is most interested to see how his players will respond after a week in which the team showed great improvement but lost by a point.
“Coming off a loss to our rival, will we build off of the effort or go back to where we were? The No.1 key is effort and a never-say-die attitude,” Beckett said. “No.2 I would say is slowing down their running game because they’re pretty physical. We need to limit their breakaway run and slow down their big play.”
The Bulldogs have had a solid week of practice.
Beckett said the work ethic and attitude have remained strong.
“We’ve come in and continued to practice,” Beckett said.
“It hasn’t been bad at all. It’s easy to come in when you’re 3-0 and things are going well. It doesn’t take much to get somebody to come in and go hard. When you’re 0-3, the guys have to reach a little deeper and work on progress. That’s easier said than done. We’re a much more result-oriented society. I’m proud of them to this point because they continue to work and try to get better. That’s what you want: you want to be better at the end of the season than you were at the beginning. That’s definitely the goal no matter who you are talent-wise. You look back at the end and say ‘Did we get better?’”
Winterboro plays St. Jude at Burgess-Snow Field in Jacksonville tonight at 7 p.m.