Hoehn recaps WSN’s seasonPublished 12:00pm Wednesday, November 6, 2013
If the 2013 football season for the W.S. Neal Eagles could be summed up in one word, it would be injuries. Injuries played a big part in W.S. Neal’s 5-5 season—a season that saw them go 3-4 in region play and finish as the fifth seed and miss the playoffs.
The Eagles finished their season Friday night with a 42-12 win over the Millry Wildcats.
W.S. Neal head coach Doug Hoehn, who has been with the Eagles of East Brewton for three years now, said Friday’s win was a good way to end the season for his team.
“I thought our kids played well Friday night,” Hoehn said. “Zack Williams played very well on both sides of the ball for us on the offensive and defensive line. Quenton Samuel had a good game running the ball and Malcolm Hawthorne had a good game running the ball. I think Malcolm had three touchdowns and Quenton had two. Lane Chavers did a good job at quarterback of managing the offense and had good ball security. We had no turnovers and he had a nice touchdown pass. Michael Williams played well on defense. Overall, I thought we played pretty well. It was nice to finish the season with a win.”
As for as the season goes, Hoehn said the injuries were the biggest thing.
“We faced some adversity with our injuries this year,” Hoehn said. “They are part of the game. The kids did everything we asked them to do. They played hard every single game. They played with a lot of class. At the beginning of season, a 5-5 record and not making the playoffs were not our goals. We wanted to do better and make the playoffs. You don’t go into a season thinking you will have the amount of injuries we had this year.”
While injuries were a negative, Hoehn said there was a plus side to it.
“A lot of kids got some playing time this year that would not have got that time had it not been for the injuries,” Hoehn said. “That will help us for next year. Overall the kids handled it pretty well. The seniors really led us in that area and I am glad they were able to get a win Friday night. We started our winter workouts Monday and we are already getting ready for next year. Right now that is our focus.”
Another focus right now for Hoehn is his senior football players.
“We feel like we have some kids that are good enough to play on the next level,” Hoehn said. “Along with our winter workouts, we are trying to get these seniors into college and get them to play football.”
Hoehn said he thinks the season would have been different if injuries did not affect his team.
“We lost by one score to Bayside,” Hoehn said. “That was at the very end of the game. We were winning it for three-and-a-half quarters. We had injuries going into the game and during the game. We had some injuries in that game in the fourth quarter that hurt us and depth hurt us. We lost to Opp by three points. We are down at the end of the game with a chance to win it. Again we go into that game with injuries and got injuries in the game and depth hurt us. Our seventh, eighth and ninth games were against good teams. I think depth hurt us in those games against Bayside, Opp and T.R. Miller.”
Hoehn said his losses this year were to playoff teams.
“Bayside is a playoff team we lost to, T.R. Miller is a playoff team and is second in the state, Straughn is a playoff team and top-10, Hillcrest is a playoff team and has votes in the 4A poll, then Opp makes the playoffs,” Hoehn said. “We are losing to playoff teams and ranked teams. We are losing them by one score except for the Miller and Straughn game. We lost by three to Opp, seven to Bayside and seven or eight to Hillcrest. Injuries had a lot to do with it, but it is part of it. The kids handled it well though.”
Hoehn said with the seniors he is losing this year, there are big shoes to fill.
“We had eight kids out to injury this year,” Hoehn said. “We played in four games this year without six starters. We didn’t play in one game this year without all our 22 starters from the spring—that is 10 games. The least amount we had out was two starters and that was the first game. We would get some back and then lose another. Next year, the kids who got a lot of playing time this year, is going to help next year. We have some good seniors we are going to have to replace. Michael Williams is a large task to replace. He did good at the linebacker. We are going to have to replace Khadarrious Taylor and Orlando Smith on the offensive and defensive lines. They are three-year starters for me since I have been here. We have some big shoes to fill.”
While the season is over, Hoehn offered thanks to all the supporters this year.
“I think our student body, or band and our cheerleaders did a good job of supporting us this year,” Hoehn said. “We had a lot of school spirit and community spirit which is important to the kids. That has all increased in the three years since I have been here. We are excited about football here now. We feel like we compete as a playoff team year-end and year out. That is our goal every year. We just hope we don’t have to face eight injuries like we did this year.”