Football: Monday Morning QB - Williams
September 22, 2013By Kevin McCloskey of Western Alamance High School
OK... Here's how I thought it would go down...
I felt like we were better than Williams. Significantly better as a matter of fact.
And I knew Williams was without its best player, Jaylin Jeffries.
And I knew that WA had won 10 straight over the Bulldogs.
However... The game was at Williams. They are still a pretty good team. Its a big rivalry game. Anything could happen (and usually does) in a game like this.
So I fully expected Williams come out full of energy and make a game of it for awhile. Ultimately, I figured WA's talent and depth would kick in and we'd pull away for a double-digit win.
Guess what??? I was right! But only for about 15 seconds.
That's how long it took for the Bulldogs to run back the opening kickoff and put WA in its first deficit situation of the season. 15 seconds. That's all the time that the emotion of the rivalry would manage keep things interesting (from a competitive standpoint).
For 15 seconds, the Bulldogs were barking loudly.
But for final 47minutes & 45 seconds, they looked more like this:
Last week, I summed up the game in a single word choosing "Glorious."
This week, the single, most appropriate word is "Domination."
The Warriors were firing on all cylinders and it was just a thorough "Take You Behind The Woodshed" beat down.
And I credit this to the WA senior class.
Before the game, I could tell they were ready. The intensity was there. The focus was there. The leadership was there.
When TJ walked onto the field carrying the sledghammer and wearing an ominous scowl, I knew this senior class meant business. I knew (pardon my grammar)...
"Don't nobody wanna mess with the Warriors tonight!"
This team is showing a steady progression as the season rolls along. And the result is the coveted "and oh" record; as in 5 and 0.
WA Nation - WOW! Great job! Most of you got the word about the "White Out" and looked good. And ALL of you were loud & proud as you should be as part of Warrior Nation. No matter where we go, I always feel "at home" because of the support you provide; both in numbers and enthusiasm.
Student Section... The word for you is Outstanding!!
Very creative. Just be careful with the "Crowd Surfing." That could be a little dangerous. But you guys were on fire!! And it makes a difference. It really does. If you don't believe me, then go listen to my post-game interview with Donovan Apple. Don will tell you that the players feed & fuel from your enthusiasm and support.
Keep it up!
Now lets talk about game... As previously mentioned, the Bulldogs came out of the gate quickly and gave us a swift kick in pants. Jamieon Harvey took the opening
kickoff and raced virtually untouched to put the Bulldogs on top early. The key, however, was our instant counter-punch on the ensuing drive. A masterpiece of a run/pass drive that moved us down the field quickly and was highlighted by 2 big receptions by Justin "Primetime" Wilson including the TD to tie the game.
Just like that... You could feel the Bulldog Balloon deflate as if all of the air had been sucked out of Memorial Stadium. From then on... It was play-after-play-after-play of WA Domination!!!!!!
True story... There were so many big plays and good plays that I had forgotten several of them when I reviewed the game footage on Saturday.
I had approximately 115 clips from the game and, normally, I remember them all. On Saturday, however, there were several times when I found myself saying... "Oh man! I forgot about that one!" And that's a good thing!
Lets start with the Warrior Defense!!!
Sure, we put 55 points on the scoreboard, but the Warrior defense "theoretically" shutout the Bulldogs. The opening kickoff was a special teams play and the late TD was essentially a non-factor against a heavily substituted Warrior defense.
EVERYBODY on the defense earns "Player of the Week" honors for me.
But there's one guy who I'm going to single out because, to me, he's the "Most Improved Player" and biggest/pleasant surprise of the season. This player is big #51... Christian Valenzuela.
Christian has patiently waited for his time to arrive and worked hard during the wait. This season, he has become a force along the DL.
Playing opposite The Manimal (TJ Harris) at the DE position, Christian is probably the "forgotten man" to opponents. Most likely (and with good reason), our opponents focus a lot of their gameplan on neutralizing TJ.
That, in turn, has opened things up for Christian and he is excelling in this role.
A couple of sacks and numerous tackes fill his stat line vs. the Bulldogs. And on every play; EVERY SINGLE PLAY; Christian gives 100% and always inserts himself into the mix to somehow impact the play.
As you can tell... I'm very impressed with young Mr. Valenzuela's progression this season. I'm tellin' ya... The kids a player!
Now lets talk about the offense... Good Googily Moogily! Wow!
As the Times-News proclaimed in their game headline... "Warriors tear apart Williams with offensive efficiency." Yeah... Sounds about right to me!
Seriously... I could hardly keep up. VERY fast paced and led by the ever-maturing Trey McCollum, it was all I could do to get in position and get my camcorder focused for the next play. It was... Bang! Bang! Bang! And whatever the Warriors did, it worked... And then some! 509 yards of offense culminating in 55 points! Serious firepower!
Lets start with the sophomore QB, Trey McCollum. Superb game! 5 TDs (3 through the air and 2 on the ground). I don't have the final stats, but his completion percentage had to be 70%+.
But where Trey is really making the most progress is in his mental game. He is now fully comfortable in the offense and you can tell by his stature and poise that the game
has slowed down for him. He's calm and cool and making good decisions that result in great plays.
Guess what??? I like it when I'm right! Especially when I can predict the future. It doesn't happen very often so, when it does, I've got to brag a little.
Before the game, I told Donovan YAC Apple, "I want 150 yards and 3TDs!" And that's pretty much what I got. To be specific, it was 168 yards and 2 TDs but, hey, I'll take it! Close enough?
But do you know what the best part was??? No limps. No hobbles. No injuries. Fully healthy. Fully ready to go. The YAC is back!
Here's a statement to consider... Big Players Make Big Plays In Big Games!
- For WA, this was a BIG game.
- For WA, the "BIG" playmakers are Brock Deatherage and Justin Wilson.
- On Friday night, these guys made BIG plays!
I already mentioned JWils "take charge" attitude on WA's first possession. JWil almost single-handedly "willed" WA to tie the game quickly and did the honors himself
with a sweet 42-yard TD reception that started across the middle and ended up at the goalline pylon. I just really like Justin's leadership and all-around game.
With Brock... Before I interviewed him, I had to ask him, "Now tell me again all that you did tonight?" There were so many plays on both sides of the ball that I simply couldn't keep them all straight.
2 TD receptions on offense.
On defense, a fumble recovery return that was 6-inches short of a TD. And A 4th down pass breakup in the endzone to thwart a Bulldog threat.
I'm sure there were more. Like I said... There were so many that I lost track.
Brock seems more relaxed this season and is making plays by letting the game come to him. He's more patient and, I think, a little relieved that the pressure is off (with his recent commitment to NC State for baseball). Brock is having fun on the football field! And its fun to watch him have fun! He's loving the game and I'm loving the results.
But let me tell you something that is as true as true can get... NONE of this would have been possible without the big guys up front. The early season "question mark" is
turning into a mid-season "exclamation point!" To the point... I couldn't be more happy and more proud of the Warrior OL.
By and large, the entire OL had to be completely replaced this season. To make things more difficult, the biggest member of the OL, Lofton Johnson, missed a couple of games due to injury. And although Lofton was back for the Williams game, 2 others were out (Hayden Hodge and Andy Walker).
But Coach Melton has pieced together and motivated these guys to get the job done!
I have an OL/DL shirt from 2010 that I will proudly wear this week. The shirt proclaims... "It All Starts Up Front!" And so it does!
The "Caught My Eye Award" for this week goes out to #22, Chance Clark.
Chance caught my eye a few times on Friday night. The first couple of times, I had to check my roster to see just "Who is this guy?" But by the end of the game, I remembered his name. Keep it up young man!
I want to tell you about someone else who caught my eye and, in my opinion, is one of (if not THE) emotional leader of this team. This guy's a coach and you may know him
by his long hair and beard. To the players, he's known simply as "Coach Mitch."
Kay pointed Coach Mitch out to me on Friday night. "Look at Mitchener!" she said, "He's ready to play!"
Man! I'm telling you, if we could have somehow suited up Coach Mitchener and got him on the field, he would have single-handedly destroyed the entire Williams team. And the coaches. And the fans. And the stadium! To put it mildly... Coach Mitchener was fired up and ready to go!!!
And he's contagious... Coach Mitch whips the crowd (specifically, the Student Section) into a frenzy by waving his arms and exhorting the cheers and noise. NOBODY has more passion for football than Coach Mitch!
And, oh by the way, Coach Mitch is also responsible for the WA Football Facebook page and the HUDL video system. The man goes well above-and-beyond his assigned duties as a coach (as does our entire coaching staff).
Coach Mitch... I see you and I appreciate what you do! Thank you!
How many of you are Harry Potter fans??? I know I am!
In the story, Harry's nemesis was so evil and so vile that it was forbidden to even speak his name. The villain was known simply as... He Who Must Not Be Named
For WA next week, the sign over the locker room should be changed to read as follows:
They are coming back. And they are so despised and so vile that we will simply call them the "Dirty Birds."
- Those "Dirty Birds" will venture back to AM Primm Stadium on Friday night.
- Those "Dirty Birds" will try to claim possession of Dave Morton Field.
- Those "Dirty Birds" will attempt to put the first blemish on the Warriors perfect "and oh" (5-0) record.
WARRIOR NATION... For the past 2 weeks, I've summed up the game using a single word (Glorious & Domination respectively).
This week, we need 3 words to combat the Dirty Birds... AND THEN SOME!
Players... Coaches... Fans... Whatever you did last week; whatever you did the first 5 weeks... You've got to do it again... AND THEN SOME!
The Dirty Birds are good... very, very good.
But guess who else is very, very good??? You know it! The Warriors!
And the Dirty Birds are not invincible. They survived Reidsville last week by a single point in overtime.
The time is right. The time is now.
Just bring it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!