on October 1, 2009 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)
Razorbacks riding momentum into region for a change
WALHALLA — Getting ready to open up region play on Friday night, this is normally the time of year when the Walhalla High School football team is accustomed to pressing the ‘restart’ button and wiping the slate clean.
Well, not so much this time around.
Winners of their last three games, the Razorbacks sit at 4-1 for only the third time in the last 30 years, and the first time since the 1995 season, as they welcome Liberty into Razorback Stadium on Friday night to begin the final five weeks of the season and make a push for their first playoff appearance since the 2003 season.
With a slew of early season success, highlighted by last-play victories over both West-Oak and Saluda, Walhalla has so far successfully overcome the loss of several key players from years past thanks in large part to its 18-man senior class, which Walhalla head coach John Boggs said has thoroughly impressed this season.
“We’ve got a lot of seniors and a lot of kids that have been in our program for four years,” Boggs said. “As a matter of fact, I don’t think there are any of them that have just showed up this year to play football, and I think all of them have been in our program since middle school. That helps, just that consistency, and those seniors have taken a leadership role.”
And those seniors have been through a lot during their tenures with the Razorbacks, as expectations have failed to yield the results they’ve wanted.
Senior linebacker Ryan McDonald has seen those struggles, and has felt a difference in the team dating back to spring practice.
And now with just a single blemish on the Razorbacks’ record, McDonald said it’s nice riding some momentum into region play for a change instead of hearing the tired rhetoric that it’s time to erase the previous five weeks from memory.
“It’s something we’re not used to at all at Walhalla,” McDonald said. “We’re still saying we’re starting over, but now we’ve got this momentum going and we’ve just got to keep it up. We don’t want to peak before region play, and we don’t want preseason being where we’re at our best, so we’ve just got to keep working to get better every week.”
Up to this point, that’s something Boggs has noticed with his team, as the Razorbacks have shown a welcomed week-to-week improvement following a Week 1 loss to Pickens, in which Walhalla was missing many starters due to a combination of injuries and suspensions.
“We feel like we kind of jump-started everything with the win over West-Oak, then we came back out and had another good week against Saluda, and we feel like we’re so much further along now than we were three weeks ago because the kids are coming to work every day and trying to get better,” Boggs said.
And in particular, Boggs pointed out last week’s 21-8 at Travelers Rest as a major step forward.
“Our guys just played so physical, and that’s one thing we preach and practice, and I felt like they came out from the get-go and really laid some licks,” Boggs said. “You hope that as that picks up, things are going to keep going well for us.”
While the defense was plenty dominant, the physicality also spread to the offense, as Mike Brown, a senior, perhaps laid the most devastating blow of the night with a crack-back block on a defensive end.
“We showed that thing the other day watching film and the whole place went crazy,” Boggs said.
Hoping to take the progress a step further on Friday night, Boggs is wary of his team getting ahead of itself with its success so far.
But there’s no denying he’s enjoying riving a wave of momentum for a change.
“You still have to come and work every day and make yourself better, because we’ve got a lot of football left,” Boggs said. “We want to continue to get better so we can hopefully ride another wave into the postseason.”