Home, sweet home.
Woodrow Wilson coach John H. Lilly is hoping the first home game of the season will revitalize his road-weary squad.
“The biggest thing this week for us is getting back at home,” he said. “We’ve been on the road for five weeks, counting the two scrimmages. Yeah, I’m hoping we’ll have a big crowd out there to support us. This time last year, we were 3-0. This year, we’re 0-3 and off to a rocky start, but we haven’t been home. That’s difficult for any team, especially an inexperienced team.”
The Eagles will get an added lift Friday as they face rival and Class AAA No. 20 Greenbrier East in their annual contest.
The Spartans (1-1) are coming off a 6-3 win over Spring Valley and hope to keep the momentum up.
“There’s certainly a little bounce in their step,” East coach Mike Michaels said. “It’s always nice to get a win to show that your hard work pays off. The spirit has been up a little more here the last couple of practices. I guess everybody gets a little more excited for the Woodrow week.”
Michaels, though, related that he and his staff haven’t changed anything in preparing for the big game.
“We’re preparing the same as we do every week,” he said. “We try to work as hard as we can on the fundamentals and the things that are going to make our kids better each week. We prepare the same every week. Hopefully the kids will work on the mistakes that we made in the last game, improve on those things and get better for this week.”
Woodrow, on the other hand, is still looking for the right combination on the field.
“We’re looking at a lot of new faces in there and giving some people some opportunities,” Lilly said. “After three games, it’s time for some other people to get opportunities to play and see if they can work their way into a starting position. It’s been quite a spirited practice this week because there are some new kids in there getting opportunities.”
Lilly stressed his young team is still improving each week.
“Right now, we’re just trying to continue to work hard and make improvements in a lot of key areas that we need to make improvements in,” he said. “I think we’re so focused on trying to make those improvements and get ready for Friday night ... We’re just trying to take care of ourselves and get ourselves prepared mentally and physically, regardless of who we play.”
Greenbrier East also has a young team and Michaels is hoping it can meet the challenge up front on the line.
“It’s just how well we match up with Beckley,” he said. “Beckley’s got an awful lot of big size in there and some big, strong kids. They’ve got some speed in their line. We’ve got a lot of young kids right now playing there, but they’ve been improving each week. We don’t have a senior starting on the offensive line.”
The Spartans will be missing quarterback Dominique Daniels, who was injured in the first game of the season.
“He got hurt against Cabell Midland on the fifth play of the game and hasn’t played since,” Michaels said. “Everything is just sort of up in the air right now. He’s raring to go and wanting to go, but the doctors and medical people have a lot to say on that, too.”
Edgar McClintic has moved under center to replace Daniels.
“He’s done a really outstanding job,” Michaels said. “Everybody’s doing the best they can.”
Woodrow announced there will be a $1 parking fee for all home games. Season ticket holders will not be charged the fee if they show their season pass to the individuals collecting the fee.
Home, sweet home.
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