For the final times in theirs lives, many players will walk off a football field as a player for the last time in Stockbridge tonight. Fortunately for the Knights, they will have fewer players playing their last high school football game than most teams and have several key players returning in 2013.
Some of the players for the Knights will leave tonight’s game with Woodland knowing they still have the opportunity to play football at the next level, but others know tonight is their last chance to leave it all on the field.
“We have about a handful of seniors who have spent four years in the program,” said head coach Tommy Watson. “We don’t have many seniors, but the ones we do have are some of the best young men I have ever been around in my life. Not only have they been great influences on the football field and in the classroom, but they will be great men in our community one day. I told those guys that if my son turned out to half of the young man those guys are, then I will have done my job as a father. I’m as proud as I can be to be called their coach.”
For those handful of players who will not be returning next season, they will play their final high school football game against a team which is in the same position as the Knights - knowing there is not a next week. The Wolfpack finished as the No. 5 seed from the other side of the Knights region, and have a 2-7 record. According to Knights’ coaches,
Woodland could easily have a winning record if a few things went their way, as is the case for the Knights.
Offensively, the Wolfpack are similar to many teams the Knights have played this season, as far as being a pass heavy offensive team. However, according to UL Defensive Coordinator Steve Chafin, they are a little different from others in their passing attack.
“They do not really stretch the field vertically in their passing game,” said Chafin. “They run a West Coast type of offense with a lot of short passes, anywhere from 5-15 yards from the line of scrimmage. They like to flood one side of the zone, forcing the defense to adjust. They also like to throw the ball to their running back out of the back field. They have the ability to pick teams apart with their short passing game. When they do run the ball, they have a couple of big tackles that they like to run behind. We will have to be prepared for the run and pass Friday night.”
Defensively, the Wolfpack run the same type of defense which the Knights saw when they played Griffin, an eight man front, with cover three in the secondary. According to the Knights coaches, their best defensive players are a big defensive tackle and their middle linebacker.
The Knights and Wolfpack had four common opponents this year. Upson-Lee lost to Jonesboro last week 44-35, and Woodland lost to Jonesboro this season 34-20. Upson-Lee was defeated by Griffin 28-14, and Woodland fell to the Bears by a 52-20 score. The Knights earned their first victory of the season against Eagles Landing with a 31-29 victory, but the Wolfpack lost in a close game, 30-28 to the Eagles. Both teams also played Stockbridge, with the Knights losing 13-3 and the Wolfpack losing 34-7.
Tonight, senior quarterback Corey Moss can eclipse the 1,300-yard mark for the season with just one single rushing yard. He should also eclipse the 2,500-yard mark for his career with just six yards rushing. Moss is currently in fourth place all-time on the Upson-Lee career rushing list, behind Tyrone Perry (3,372), Antroun McDaniel (3,397), and Jesse Garmon (3,665). All of those players started or played a significant amount of plays for three years, but Moss has only played at the varsity level for two years.
Moss has averaged 145 yards rushing per game so far in 2012. If that total was added to his yardage so far in 2012, Moss would finish with somewhere around 1,445 yards for the 2012 season. Moss rushed for nearly 1,200 yards last season. Taking the two total seasons of rushing yards for Moss, and adding a third year with what he has averaged throughout his career, Moss would finish with just over 4,000 yards rushing for his career. Even though he will not be able to move up the ranks any further, finishing as the fourth leading rusher in UL history with only two years of playing is pretty impressive.
The Knights and the Wolfpack will kick-off their final game of the season tonight at “The Den” on the campus of Woodland High School. Game time is 7:30 p.m.