Eagles try to climb back
Published 1:55 pm Wednesday, September 27, 2006
above .500 mark at Opp
BY BRUCE HIXON
As the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles and the rest of the Alabama High School Association football teams hit the halfway point this week, W.S. Neal Blue Eagles coach Blaine Hathcock is still waiting for his team to establish its identity.
W.S. Neal will try to improve its stock Friday when it travels to Opp for a 7 p.m. non-region contest with the Bobcats.
The Blue Eagles have had their share of ups and downs, which is probably reflected in their 2-2 overall record, 1-2 in Class 4A Region 1.
On the up side, W.S. Neal's defense turned in a shutout against Daleville, the offense chalked up 258 yards rushing at Southside-Selma and the defense forced four turnovers in last Friday's 28-14 loss to Class 4A top-ranked Thomasville.
Then there is the downside. The Blue Eagles coughed the ball up six times against Thomasville and did not have a play go for more than 20 yards. W.S. Neal rushed for only 69 yards in its loss to Escambia County and 70 against Thomasville.
While there is usually not a lot at stake in non-region games other than a win or a loss, Hathcock admits Opp is probably a pivotal game in his team's season.
The Bobcats, under the direction of former T.R. Miller offensive line coach Jack Whigham, enter Friday's game 1-3 overall, 1-2 in Class 4A Region 2. The Bobcats lone win came against Alabama Christian. They have lost to Luverne, Andalusia and most recently Friday's 24-22 setback to Daleville.
Daleville is a common opponent between the teams. W.S. Neal downed the Warhawks 28-0 in the season opener, while Opp fell two points short last week.
While Opp's record may not reflect it at this point, Hathcock says the Bobcats are on the rise.
Hathcock said Opp's offense centers around its running game, most notably fullback Rodney Colston (5-6, 196 lb. sr.) and tailback Danshay Edwards (5-6, 167 lb. sr.).
That passing game would come from quarterback Cody Hall (6-1, 191 lb. jr.).
Size should be on W.S. Neal's side. Opp has only four sophomores through seniors who weigh 200 pounds or more although one of them is 6-0, 295 lb. defensive lineman Jontae Washington.
The W.S. Neal skipper said injuries keep testing his team's depth.