“For us to go to the playoffs we have to beat St. Jude and Wadley has to beat Notasulga,” head coach John Limbaugh explained. “So, there is a sense of urgency. We still have some goals this year; one goal is to make the playoffs and our second goal is to have a winning season. Both of those goals are still there. We’re 5-3 right now. We’ve made a lot of progress since last year at 2-8. There’s been a lot of progress made this year. The kids are expecting to win football games. There is a lot of expectation and there is a lot of desire this year. I’m so proud of our kids.”
Fayetteville faces a formidable test with St. Jude (6-2) traveling to FarmLinks Field.
“I know they’re a real good football team,” Limbaugh said of the Pirates. “They’re second in our region and just came a few points short of beating Loachapoka. They are a good football team and a well-coached team. Their coaches have done a real good job with them. They run the ball really well. Their quarterback Sherman Grant, he can run the ball and he can throw the ball. He’s the real deal. Their running back Thomas Stokes is a good one. We’ve got to contain him. If he gets out in open space, he can run the football. The fullback, Traylon McCurdy, blocks really well. He’s another good player. We’ll have our hands full. They’ve got six seniors and 12 juniors, so they have a lot of leadership on the team. They have a lot of older guys on their football team.”
As it turns out, there will be a little bit of extra attention given to the Wolves today in Fayetteville.
“It’s Senior Day,” Limbaugh said. “It’s a blackout, so everyone is going to be wearing all black. Friday morning Fox6 is coming to do our pep rally on Good Morning Alabama and they’ll be here tomorrow night at the football game doing a Fox6 sideline. So, there’s a lot of enthusiasm and a lot going on for the football game. We’re just looking forward to getting started.”
Limbaugh credited his senior players for playing a significant role in turning Fayetteville into a playoff contender this season.
“Our right tackle on the offensive side of the ball has done a really, really good job for us all year long: Steven Brasher,” Limbaugh said. “He plays nose tackle on defense. He’s done a tremendous job for us. Tyari Powell-Welch has done a good job at quarterback for us and also plays corner. He’s just done a real good job. Another senior who has done a good job for us is Jonathan Harbin at quarterback. Jonathan has done a tremendous job for us all year long. These guys are going to be missed. Tyler Pennington has done a real good job this year as a receiver catching the football for us. All these guys have contributed this year and they’ve had a very big part of what’s going on in rebuilding the program here at Fayetteville. We have a good program now due to our seniors and the leadership they have shown the last two years.”
Limbaugh believes it is imperative for his team to avoid turnovers if they are to have a legitimate chance at beating Saint Jude.
“Turnovers have been a problem for us the last couple of ball games,” Limbaugh said. “If we don’t turn the ball over against TC, I think we win that ball game last week. It was one of the most difficult games we’ve played all year. We turned the ball over four times and they scored off of every one of our turnovers. We’ve got to win the turnover battle against St. Jude to have a chance to win. It will take everything we’ve got. We had a really good practice Wednesday and have had good practices this week. So, we’ve got to get in there and get after it.”
Fayetteville hosts St. Jude at FarmLinks Field at 7 p.m.