The approach the White Hall Bulldogs have taken toward tonight’s home game against the Watson Chapel Wildcats isn’t much different from any other game week this season.
Whether that works in this renewal of a Jefferson County archrivalry is to be determined.
“I’ll tell you (tonight) at 10 o’clock,” White Hall coach Mike Vaughn said. “I really don’t know. Every football team has some personality, and this one seems to be more of a calm mood. They never get too aroused or too excited until game time. That’s the way they played so far.”
The Bulldogs have looked pretty good at 4-1 and 2-1 in the 5A-South. Their Thursday walk-through was business as usual, no one appearing to be overly psyched up for a chance at a second straight victory over the Wildcats (5-1, 3-0).
That doesn’t mean the Bulldogs aren’t excited.
“I’m thinking we can’t lose to them,” senior offensive lineman Frank Yelland said. “They are a good team, so we have to play our A-game and step it up this week.
“We have to start out fast and keep going through the entire game, score as many points as we can.”
White Hall has done well with the latter mission, hanging up 41 points per game in its four victories with help from Yelland and the O-line. The Bulldogs are hoping for another explosive night on the ground with running backs Irvin Tisdale and Kendrick Edgerson and plenty of targets for quarterback Terrance Warren to choose from.
“Because of Joseph (Stewart) and Percy (Arnold) and Quan (Shuquan Wells) and (Quinton) Winston and Kaseem Smith and those guys, they put a little fear in (opponents) because we threw the ball deep several times earlier in the year and we’re successful at it,” Vaughn said, naming his key receivers. “People have played us differently than in the past, which has given us the opportunity to run the football, but once you get the opportunity, you’ve got to do something about it.”
The Wildcats hope they can keep the Bulldogs from doing very little on the ground.
“That’s the first order of any defense, to be effective against the run,” Watson Chapel coach George Shelton said. “They certainly present some challenges for us. They had a tremendous amount of success last year running the ball on us. I’m sure they’re going to follow the same format.”
Defensively, White Hall has only allowed 12 points per game in its wins and have done it with only four returning defensive starters, which has thrilled Vaughn. But the Bulldogs will have to find an answer for Wildcats team that is blessed with plenty of speed on offense and also averages 41 points in its wins.
Vaughn is more than concerned about Watson Chapel’s big-play ability and speed.
“Oh, we’re scared to death,” he said. “’Concerned’ is not a good-enough word. … What you’re scared of is, you’ll be at the right spot and you miss a tackle, and he’s gone. (Camden) Fairview’s the same way; we don’t have that speed. For us to play good defense and keep them from scoring, we have to be in the perfect position, more than one person, and make good tackles.”
Slowing down the Wildcats is a goal the Bulldogs look forward to reaching again, especially for the senior class.
“When we came back into football, we said, it’s our last year, we need to get it together,” senior defensive lineman Chase Gerardiello said. “That’s kind of been our motivation. Every game we play, as hard as we can, just leave it on the field.”