on November 1, 2007 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Razorbacks dealing with disappointment of missing out on playoffs

WALHALLA — Despite a season that saw Walhalla High School have perhaps its most explosive offense in recent memory – including a number of school records being set – it’s safe to say that the outcome was disappointing to most in the Razorbacks’ camp.

Walhalla finished its season 4-6 and 2-4 in the Skyline AA region, and missed the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season under head coach John Boggs.

Boggs admitted his team’s finish was frustrating, particularly because they entered the season with some pretty high ambitions.

“It’s disappointing for us because you feel like you’re kind of at a plateau – 2-8 our first year, 3-7 our second year and 4-6 these last two years,” Boggs said. “But you still like to think that you’re better than you were a year ago, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

Junior quarterback Rob Middleton set the school’s single-season passing mark with 2,777 yards to go along with 27 touchdowns, and senior receiver Jacob Lee set both the single-season and career receiving yardage records with his 962 yards on the year.

In Week 10 against Palmetto, Middleton set the single-game passing record with 508 yards through the air, and junior Nick Tubbs set a new single-game receiving record with 10 catches for 238 yards.

Boggs agreed, however, that it wasn’t all good news for the Razorbacks this season.

“We were a lot more explosive this past year than we were last year, but defensively, you feel like we’ve really got some work to do to try to figure out some things,” he said. “It’s been two years in a row that we’ve really struggled to stop the run, and that’s been discouraging at times.”

Nonetheless, Walhalla played a number of tight games against top-notch competition, and Boggs believes that is something the team can build on for the future.

“You hope that your underclassmen were able to see that you can compete with some of the better teams across the state,” Boggs said. “With Pendleton, Abbeville and Chesnee all being really strong teams traditionally year in and year out, you like to think that these underclassmen have seen what we’re capable of doing when we step up and play like we’re capable of.

“I think it’s more about being able to put a whole game together than coming out and playing a good half or some good quarters. It’s all about playing four good quarters.”

As the Razorbacks cleared out their lockers and the coaches took up the equipment on Monday, Boggs said the reality of the season being over already was especially difficult for his senior class.

“Very (disappointing), especially with these seniors,” Boggs said. “Every year this time of year is rough, and you talk about it and they see the group (of seniors) the year before and how hard it is on them. For them, they feel like all the work they put in and all the effort they put into the season – to come up short is really disappointing for them. But at the same time, those guys have all done a good job – and we’ve seen how hard they work every day to try to accomplish those goals.”

The Razorbacks had a strong senior class, a number of whom made outstanding contributions on the field, and Boggs said it was difficult to see them go – especially because it was his first group of freshman when he took over the reins at Walhalla.

“Every kid’s got their own thing that they contributed to the program, and you hate to see those guys go because this was our first group,” Boggs said. “We came in, and our first year they were our freshmen. Most of them were part of the JV program with the exception of probably Jacob, and you can sit there and talk about every single one of them and something they’ve done…to help improve this program and help improve themselves.”

While the Razorbacks’ offense did much of the work to keep them in games this season, Boggs said in the past it has been the defense doing more than their share. The key, he said, will be to get the two units going at the same time.

“Two years ago, we were a lot better on defense than we were on offense,” Boggs said. “You feel like if your offense and defense can ever catch up with each other – you’re real good on defense and not that good on offense, and then you’re really good on offense and not that good on defense. If you can ever put those two together and play a complete game on both sides of the ball – that’s going to be when some really special things can happen.”

Though its difficult to speculate this far in advance, the Razorbacks will have a number of key players back on both sides of the ball, including a senior quarterback, returning next season.

“We’ll have Sam Dixon at end, and he’s led the team in tackles the last two years,” Boggs said. “And all of our linemen are coming back with the exception of two. Easton Smith will now have two years starting, and he’s still just going to be a junior and has started 20 games now as a sophomore. (We’ll have) Austin Crook and Chris Glenn on the offensive line, and Austen Hedden coming back on the defensive line. Meeshon Thompson I thought stepped up and had a great year when we had a running back that didn’t come back.”

Though he admitted it was difficult to look forward to next season while still trying to deal with this season’s disappointment, Boggs agreed that 2008 had the potential to be special for the Razorbacks.

“The future’s bright, obviously there’s some guys in the JV program that’s going to have to come right in and play,” Boggs said. “And we’re going to be really young at some spots if those guys come in like we hope they will. But at the same time, you feel like your seniors and the positions they’re in can really provide some good leadership and help you out.”