Watson Chapel coach George Shelton speaks to the defense during Wednesday’s practice. (Special to The Commercial/Bo Rogers)
For the second straight week, Watson Chapel will have to face an undefeated team on the road.
A week after falling to Camden Fairview (10-0) 21-13, the Wildcats travel to Wynne (9-0) to open the first round of the Class 5A playoffs. Watson Chapel (6-4) is the fourth seed from the 5A-South and Wynne is the top seed from the East.
While facing two undefeated teams seems like a daunting task, the Wildcats almost shocked 5A last week. Watson Chapel took a 13-7 lead on Camden Fairview and it was the first time all season the Cardinals trailed in a game.
Watson Chapel coach George Shelton does not care that his team had the lead, though, because the Cardinals pulled out the victory.
“We don’t pay any attention to that and not impressed,” he said. “We are not playing for who is ahead but for who wins the game and Camden won.”
Shelton did want to see one thing out of his team — that they still had a good amount of fight in them. A week before facing Camden Fairview, Watson Chapel had seven turnovers in a loss to Hot Springs Lakeside.
Shelton said he saw a different team against Camden Fairview last week.
“I thought our character was being called into question and I was just pleased to see our Wildcat fight that I have been accustomed to seeing during my time here at Watson Chapel,” he said. “We are going into the playoffs with that fight.”
On paper, Wynne does not to be the same type of juggernaut like a Camden Fairview. The Yellowjackets have scored 362 points and given up just 133, but the Cardinals have scored 451 points and have only allowed 72.
The Yellowjackets are ranked one spot below Camden Fairview in Hootens.com 5A poll. Wynne is ranked third. Watson Chapel is 12th.
Shelton said Wynne has some similarities to what he saw from Camden Fairview the week prior.
“I don’t think there is anyone that resembles Camden because Camden is so much bigger than everyone up front,” he said. “There are similarities with their counter trey game and quick passing game. Wynne is the same way as well.”
Junior Reed Wingo and sophomore Ross Trail alternate at quarterback for Wynne and have been led by running back Josh Selvy, who has piled up more than 1,000 total yards.
But Selvy is day-to-day with an MCL injury and senior Draylon Willis has filled in Selvy’s absence.
“They run the spread attack and have a tremendous running back who they use in the passing game,” Shelton said. “They have an offensive line that runs their counter game really well and both quarterbacks are efficient at what they do.”
Watson Chapel’s offense has been just as dangerous as Wynne’s. The Wildcats have scored 316 points this season and are led by SanAntonio Cole, who will play in this game after taking a very hard hit against the Cardinals.
Junior Devonte Battles has rushed for almost 1,000 yards this year and on the defensive side, Jordan Stargell has 13 interceptions.
Watson Chapel may be the fourth seed, but the Wildcats are still dangerous enough to make their presence felt in the playoffs.
“We are pleased and thankful to be in the playoffs,” Shelton said. “Still feel like we are a viable team and we feel like we have the potential to make some noise and play some good football.
“We just have to take it one game at a time and our total focus is on the Wynne Yellowjackets.”