“I appreciate our seniors like Casey Twymon coming to work every day and going at it hard; Bruce Golden has continued to push and get better; Detrica Gaddis continuing to play every day; Colby Wheeler has been a constant and he’s come in and played; Cedric McKenzie,” Winterboro head coach Alan Beckett said. “Our season has been a tribute to our seniors, who have struggled with the situation—we all did early in the year—of being a struggling team. But they’ve continued to come play and I have definitely appreciated that. Personally in coaching, this is the third team that has struggled like this. One of the senior teams just gave up. This group, like one other I was around, continues to play. Those other two, I was an assistant, but I’m very proud that these seniors are still working. Jalen Whetstone had a touchdown catch last week. He’s a first-year player as a senior. He’s continued to come in and have people throw him passes. I know those are small things, but I just wanted to brag on the senior class. They’re continuing to show up every day.”
The Bulldogs have five starters out for the season with injuries. Freshman Clay Twyman will get the start at quarterback. Three other freshmen filled in for injured players and received playing time. Twyman tossed his first touchdown pass of season last week at Wadley.
“It will be a great opportunity for him long-term to get him the experience, but I’m definitely guarding his play just in the progression,” Beckett said. “I’m trying not to put him in situations to would set him up to fail. We’ve tried to get him some snaps bit by bit. A freshman has to show a lot of courage sometimes to jump into the fire in some of these situations. I’ve been proud of his play and progression.”
Despite the slew on injuries, Beckett has been pleased with the progress he has seen from several different individuals.
"We are very limited with the injuries, yet our offensive line provided some holes,” Beckett said. “DeShawn Garrett and Colby Wheeler had some nice catches. Jalen Whetstone had a nice catch on the touchdown. Michael Garrett and Detrica Gattis had some solid blocks."
Winterboro fell to Wadley 29-15. A Winterboro player was called for a head-to-head hit at a key moment in the game. What would have been a crucial third down stop instead became an automatic first down.
“The head-to-head rule is just something I wish would be opened up,” Beckett said. “In the progression of the game, you want to continue to evaluate the rules. I definitely don’t think you make rules for rules’ sake. I think you want to continue to evaluate and make rules better each and every year. As the letter of the law, it’s probably a good thing to take out the head-to-head, but I’ve seen it called a lot of times. The purpose of it is to eliminate a projectile on somebody that is upright, but if the offensive guy is in a lowered state, he’s low to the ground, or he’s ducked for some reason, he’s using his helmet as a weapon. In some cases, the defender lowers himself just the same and I’m seeing some head-to-heads called. To me, that loses the meaning of the penalty. It came at a key time last week, but I’ve seen if before that—good, bad, other games. I do like the safety part of it, but I think we need to evaluate if the offensive guy is very low to the ground I think he’s now using that helmet as a weapon himself. It takes the defender into a situation where it limits part of his play.”
Despite the fact that Wadley has a better region record than Notasulga, Beckett knows they will be just as much of a challenge. Notasulga beat Winterboro 51-6 last season.
"Coach (James) Lucas with time has put together a good program,” Beckett said. “They had losing seasons his first couple seasons but now they are rolling.”
Beckett knows Notasulga has several playmakers on offense.
“Offensively, they show lots of formations,” he said. “They are good at running in the wishbone. No. 10 catches the ball well. No. 57 at right tackle blocks hard. The quarterback, No. 11, is really good when plays break down. He scrambles well."
Winterboro hosts Notasulga tonight at 7 p.m.