“I think offense is kind of their thing,” Winterboro head coach Alan Beckett said. “We’ve been a little stronger defensively. We’ve actually had some good outings against some pretty good teams. They’ve had some good offensive outings; they’ve just had a hard time stopping people. We’ve had a hard time when the game gets into any kind of a shootout. Your two contrasts are a scoring team and a little bit more of a defense-oriented team.”
One factor that will give the Bulldogs a boost is the expected return of several key players.
"Brady Wideman could play this week,” Beckett said. “BJ Twyman is close to 100 percent. This is the healthiest we've been since week one."
Winterboro was impressive last week in a 14-7 loss to regional opponent Notasulga (4-4).
"We played one of our better games of the season,” Beckett said. “We have really improved. Our offensive line went from our weakest unit to one of our strongest. They really blocked well. We ran the ball effectively. We had lots of skill players contribute. That's what this offense is about.”
In addition to the offensive line and skill position play, Beckett came away impressed with how freshman quarterback Clay Twyman handled his first start.
“I was happy with the way Clay Twyman played Friday,” Beckett said. “We’ll gradually take him through the start to his career and not throw too much at him. I’ve got great hopes and aspirations for him. I thought he responded really well. He didn’t make many mistakes. He made one or two, but I thought he was real good. He did a lot more good things than he struggled with. He’ll definitely see playing time.”
The offense moved the ball well, but had difficulty in putting up points at the end of drives.
“I thought it’s just a matter of finishing some drives,” Beckett said. “We had two touchdowns called back, one was procedural and one was a receiver stepped out of bounds and came back in for the catch. We moved the ball all night; it’s just a matter of finishing it and not getting key penalties here and there. In the kicking game, we were trying to kick away from one of their guys. We kicked it straight to him and sure enough, he returned it for a touchdown. It’s little things here and there. Defensively, we gave up on the first drive and they never really threatened to score again. Improvement: I would say so.”
Ultimately, special teams play and turnovers proved to be the difference in the game.
“The kicking game and turnovers were two things that were very important,” Beckett said. “(Notasulga) had the (touchdown) return and probably had more return yards than us. We turned the ball over five times. Turnovers hurt us.”
According to Beckett, the Bulldogs have had a solid week of practice and are of a mindset to get their first win against the Red Devils.
“They’ve come to work, so I’ve been proud of that,” Beckett said. “We’re going to go down there and play.”
Winterboro plays at Verbena tonight at 7 p.m.