WSN in playoffs for first time since 2007
For the first time since the 2007 season, the W.S. Neal Eagle football team is heading to the playoffs.
W.S. Neal comes into their first round game with Slocomb Friday night with an 8-2 record after knocking off Millry 66-20 Friday on the road in their regular season finale.
“Marquese Banks had 289 yards on 19 carries for us and six touchdowns,” W.S. Neal head coach Doug Hoehn said of the win over Millry. “We ran 52 times for 591 yards and scored nine touchdowns. Our offensive line played extremely well. Dylan Godwin ran for 96 yards on 11 carries and Trevor Burns had 68 yards on five carries. Our defense was led by D.J. Hodges, Malcolm Hawthorne, Khadarrius Taylor and Orlando Smith. They all had very good games for us.”
For the year, Banks has rushed 207 times for 1,804 yards and 20 touchdowns. As a team, the Eagles have rushed for 4,319 yards and scored 55 rushing touchdowns and average 41 points a game.
Slocomb enters the game with a 6-4 overall record and finished 4-3 in region play.
W.S. Neal and Slocomb have played three times with W.S. Neal owning a 3-1 record. The two teams last played in 2005 with W.S. Neal winning 27-20.
This is W.S. Neal’s 20th playoff berth and in 19 first round games, own an 8-11 record.
W.S. Neal last made the playoffs in 2007—a 28-14 loss to Cleburne County. The Eagles last first round win was in 2006 against Jemison. W.S. Neal last hosted a first round game in 1996 and they came away with an 18-12 win over Beauregard.
“They have a good quarterback, a good running back and a good wide receiver,” Hoehn said of Slocomb. “They are a spread team that runs a lot of different formations. This is really the first true spread team so we are going to have to get our matchups right and line up right. They just run so many different formations. All across the board they are a well-coached team.”
W.S. Neal’s seniors were in the seventh grade the last time W.S. Neal made the playoffs.
Does Hoehn think the lack of playoff experience will affect his team?
“We started talking to our players Friday night after the game,” he said. “We have a philosophy around here that we take one game at a time but more importantly one play at a time. We try to teach the kids that every play is important. We don’t want them to watch the scoreboard or worry about how much time is left in the game. We want them to play every single play as if it is the last play. We also tell them there are ups and downs in the games and if they make a mistake, to know what the mistake is. Don’t make it again but also don’t get frustrated with the mistake. So we talk a lot around here about distractions and that those distractions before a game and frustration during a game can hurt you. So if we just stick with our philosophy, I think that is the best way to handle it.”
Game time is set for 7 p.m. at W.S. Neal Stadium in East Brewton.