Waccamaw High sports: Warriors open football season against Latta
By Roger Greene
On paper, there may not be much difference between a 1-0 record or an 0-1. But in a high school football locker room, players and coaches understand there can be a sizable gap between winning the first game and going back to the drawing board the next week.
Waccamaw’s game with Latta may just be the first of 10 contests on the schedule, but it remains a point of emphasis for coach Tyronne Davis and the Warriors.
“The first game is important,” Davis said. “If you can do well and get a win it’s a boost for everyone. It reinforces everything you’ve done in fall practice and raises your confidence.”
Latta did not present much of an obstacle for Waccamaw in last year’s season opener, as the Warriors raced to a 37 point advantage at the half en route to a 50-0 victory. Waccamaw rolled up more than 200 yards rushing in the game, averaging close to 6 yards a carry.
Though the Warriors will be in a spread offensive formation tonight instead of the Wing-T set they employed last year, the ground attack will remain a point of emphasis in the game plan. Senior Nick Davis, who rushed for 87 yards against Latta in 2010, and junior Jalen Simmons give Waccamaw an effective backfield tandem. Both have big-play potential.
“We’re using a different offense this year, but we’re not a team that is going to throw the ball 30 or 40 times a game,” Davis said. “We have to be able to run to be successful.”
Waccamaw’s win over Latta last year did little to stem the tide of a disappointing season. The Warriors went on to finish 3-7. No matter what happens tonight, Davis wants to see a more consistent approach from his team this season.
“You have to be ready every game,” Davis said. “Everything you do in the first five games is designed to prepare you for the region schedule. Being at your best when you start the region is the ultimate goal.”
Latta struggled to an 0-10 finish last year and has won just eight games over the last six years. Kelly Williamson takes over as the Vikings new coach this season, and brings a wealth of experience from leading Dillon Christian to a pair of SCISA titles.
The Vikings have limited numbers overall, but are talented in spots. Offensive and defensive lineman Donnell Stanley (6-foot-4, 281 pounds) has received an offer from Clemson, and running back Darius King is capable of putting up numbers on the ground.
“Stanley is a presence on the line,” Davis said. “He is to them what Jerome [Maybank] was to us last year. Latta is a better team than they were a year ago. They can be explosive and make plays.”
Kickoff at Warrior Field is at 7:30 p.m.