The Daleville Warhawks (0-3, 0-1) and New Brockton Gamecocks (0-1, 0-1) will head into Bates Memorial Stadium this Friday, Sept. 11, both hunting for their first Class 3A, Region 2 win.
The once home of the Enterprise Wildcats, “The Hole,” has witnessed many classic Friday night battles but this will be the first time the New Brockton Gamecocks will call Bates Memorial Stadium home and the first time they will play inside the old stadium. Bates Memorial Stadium will reside as New Brockton’s home stadium until renovations on Gamecock Stadium are completed next month. Daleville, however, did play against Enterprise in “The Hole” and lost 56-28 to the the Wildcats back in 2000.
While Daleville High School sits just 17 miles away from New Brockton High School, the two sides haven’t met since 1991. The two sides met annually from 1984 until 1991 but this game will certainly be the biggest of all their showdowns as it is the first time the Dale County-Coffee County teams will meet in region play.
The Warhawks are coming off a three-game stretch to open the season in which they were outscored 137-20, but New Brockton coach Zack Holmes isn’t looking past Daleville.
“Daleville is athletic and they have some really good players,” Holmes said. “They’ve changed their offense to more of a wing-T or single wing-ish, so you have to be sound on defense and run to the football and be willing to tackle over and over and over.
“Defensively they’ll get after you, they’ll get in your face and bring pressure and make sure they have enough in the box to fit the run it will be a physical game.”
Daleville coach Desmond Lett said he knows that the Gamecocks will bring the same sort of physicality that Houston Academy did last week.
“I expect them to be a very well-coached team and another very physical football team,” Lett said. “Coach Holmes does a fantastic job with those kids over there and I feel like they’re going to come in and hit us in the mouth and we will have to respond to that challenge. We’ve preached physicality all year long and we have to meet that physicality.”
The Gamecocks turned the ball over six times in last week’s season opener and Holmes said he wants to see those mistakes cleaned up and wants a level of intensity at practice this week to match the intensity of a game.
“I just want to see growth and I that’s what I’ve told our guys,” Holmes said. “For the players that didn’t know the level of intensity it takes before last week now they know and they understand it.
“It comes one of two ways; playing football games – which we don’t want to be learning those lessons in games and waste games – or we need to be having that sort of intensity in practice. We need to have game-level intensity and preparation in practice each week.”
The Warhawks are playing this season with low numbers – just 30 total players from seventh grade through seniors – but Lett is not allowing his players to use that as an excuse.
“I’m not just trying to raise football players, I’m trying to raise them to be outstanding citizens in the world,” Lett flatly said. “They have to understand that you can’t feel sorry for yourself because no one else will. You have to go out there and do it whether you want to or not, you have to wake up every day and do it.
“No one will feel sorry for you because at one point in time they’ve probably been on the opposite side of that and no one felt sorry for them.”