Will the real Blue Eagles please stand up
By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
The question is obvious. Will the real W.S. Neal Blue Eagles please stand up?
Is it the team that shocked Trinity Presbyterian 7-6 Friday and ended the Wildcats 45-game regular season winning streak or the team that played unbeaten 5A power Eufaula down to the wire before they succumbed 10-7 back in the season opener.
On the other side of the question, are they the Eagles who lost to a Headland team that had dropped 12 of its previous 13 decisions or the one that had to rally from 14 points down to edge a 2-3 Slocomb team?
W.S. Neal (2-3 overall and 1-2 in Class 3A Region 1) will start to reveal that answer Friday when it begins the second half of its regular season with a 7 p.m. region date at Dale County.
Even though the Warriors are 0-5 this season (0-3 in region play) and have been outscored 168-37, the Blue Eagles up and down trend naturally has W.S. Neal faithful on the edge.
The W.S. Neal skipper also knows as much as his team, staff and followers enjoyed Friday's stunning victory, it means virtually nothing in his team's push to make the playoffs.
Dating back to the second half of its week two game against Abbeville where the Warriors squandered an 18-0 lead in a 19-18 loss, Dale County has scored just one offensive touchdown and 13 total points in the last 14 quarters.
That one offensive touchdown came on the last play of the game in a 42-13 loss to T.R. Miller in a contest where the Tigers starters had long since departed. The Warriors' other score came on a kickoff return on the opening play of that T.R. Miller game. Dale County has been shut out in its two most recent games, a 32-0 setback to Straughn and most recently Friday's non-region 27-0 loss to Rehobeth.
Hathcock indicated one of the Warriors' biggest problems has been sustaining good play.
Hathcock said his team needs to put Dale County away early in the game.
With the regular season now half over, Hathcock said his team's defense has been both the most pleasant surprise and also the most puzzling disappointment.
Friday marks the end of a marathon three-week road trip that will see W.S. Neal travel nearly 700 miles from Headland to Montgomery to Midland City (Dale County).