By Grant Stevens - Sports Editor
Oct. 24, 2012 — Encore.
Last year’s WCMS football performance was of Oscar worthy notoriety, as the Warriors ripped off seven wins.
While some of the stars of last year’s showcase may have made their way to the high school ranks, the 2012 WCMS eighth grade football squad decided to make the sequel just as juicy.
The boys in maroon delivered with an 8-2 regular season (9-4 overall), as well as its first-ever playoff win last weekend with a 38-0 victory over Morgan County at home.
The young Warriors season may have ended this past Saturday with a loss to number-two seeded Raceland, but Head Coach Ryan Raybourn says he is still very impressed with what his team was able to accomplish.
“I was very proud of the boys this season,” Raybourn said. “We had lots of success that I think was attributed to the hard work they put in. It makes it fun to coach when your players work hard and are excited about playing.”
“The boys knew coming into this year, that with the success they had in 7th grade, the bar was set high and we expected their best at all times,” Raybourn said.
Behind a powerful running game with area standout Payton Brown in the backfield, the Warriors were able to power and finesse their way into the end zone.
Even with its ability to run the ball, Raybourn believes his team’s biggest strength lies on the other side of the ball.
“We had a diverse offense where we were able to tighten in and power the ball, but turn around next play and spread the field with a pass play,” Raybourn said. “This really throws middle school defenses off when you have this ability. However, I think our biggest strength was our defense. Those boys love to hit and tackle. And it wasn't just one; the entire defense played really aggressive all year. Our strong defense won a couple of games for us this year.”
With such success at the middle school level, what impact does this have on the currently struggling Comet program for the future?
“I think the high school is set up to have a good team in the upcoming years,” Raybourn said. “The record may not show it this year, but with primarily freshmen and sophomores taking the field on Friday nights, they are getting great playing time and experience.”
With 26 freshmen on the WCHS roster, Raybourn believes his current group of boys could make a big difference for the Comets.
“Even if the 8th grade boys don't have to step directly into a starting role, like some of this years freshmen have had to, I think they will be able to push the older players to work harder, and will also provide a little relief on Friday night.”
Perhaps with more time and hard work, a group of Warriors can push the Comets to fly once again.
Grant Stevens can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.