Eagles, Daleville change roles this year
Published 8:24 am Wednesday, August 29, 2007
By BY BRUCE HIXON – SPORTS EDITOR
It may be a new year, but Friday's season opener between the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles and the host Daleville Warhawks that kicks off at 7 p.m. looks a lot like last year.
The difference this year is the roles are reversed. Last year it was the Blue Eagles who had the experience against an inexperienced Daleville squad. It was also the first game for Daleville under new coach Sam Holland, who was not hired until late summer.
W.S. Neal dominated that game played at East Brewton and won 28-0. The Blue Eagles defense held Daleville to just 154 yards of total offense. The Warhawks did not complete a pass in that game.
While Daleville's season got off to a rough start, the Warhawks recovered enough from that week one setback to earn a fourth place finish in Class 4A Region 2 with a 4-3 record and a playoff berth that ended with a first-round loss to Cleburne County. Daleville finished 4-7 overall a year ago.
The Blue Eagles will need a similar defensive effort to the one they turned in Thursday's preseason game against 4A No. 3 Andalusia that ended in a 0-0 tie.
W.S. Neal figures to get a big dose of Daleville running back Jonas Randolph (5-10, 185 lb. sr.). Last year Randolph rushed for 1,292 yards and had nearly 1,900 yards of all-purpose yardage.
Randolph's job should be made much easier by the fact Daleville returns much of its offensive line led by guard Demetrius Mitchell, 6-3, 320 lb. sr.), who was an all-state honorable mention choice last year.
Daleville returns Devin Flowers (6-0, 190 lb. jr.) at quarterback. Flowers rebounded from the goose egg he had against W.S. Neal to throw for 759 yards last season. Junior William Knight had 377 of those receiving yards. Knight has moved over from tight end to the wide receiver slot this season.
Hathcock said his team can not have a lot of self-inflicted mistakes Friday and expect to win.
Even though Friday's game is a non-region game and for all intent has little or no bearing on the playoff picture, Hathcock said it is important for his team to get off to a good start.