The Daleville Warhawks (0-6, 0-3) return to region play this Friday, Oct. 1, in a Class 3A, Region 2 showdown with the Wicksburg Panthers (5-1, 2-0) on the road.
The Warhawks have been beaten by a combined score of 109-8 in the past two weeks, while the Panthers are on a four-game winning streak with dominating wins over Providence-Christian, New Brockton and Northside Methodist in that span. Wicksburg also defeated Class 5A’s Rehobeth 17-6 last week.
Daleville coach Will Garner knows his Warhawks will have their hands full this week.
“Wicksburgh is a phenomenal football team,” Garner flatly said. “They’re a group that you can tell has been together for a long time.
“They’re an old veteran group that is very talented. They are big up front and run the football well. We know we’ll have our hands full but they do stuff that we’ve seen before. It’s a matter of us continuing to grow up and mature to be able to execute and make the plays we need to.”
That need to continue to grow and mature is paramount for the Warhawks, who boast just one senior and three juniors on the entire team. Despite the growing pains his team is feeling, Garner is confident in the future of his program.
“We talk every day with this group about the future,” Garner said. “We lose one senior (from this team) and three guys from next year’s team. So, the entire core of this team is going to be together for at least the next three years.
“We talk every day about the future of this group and what we want our legacy to be. We want that legacy for this group to be the group that turned Daleville football back around to what it’s been in the past.”
Garner said that he’s seen his young players buy into the future of the program.
“It’s tough right now for some to understand it because we’re asking eighth and ninth graders to go out and play a grown man’s football game on Friday nights,” Garner continued. “Some of them just are not mentally and physically mature enough to handle it yet.
“The thing is the effort and execution and the work and understanding that their day is coming is big for us and they’re starting to buy into that, which is exciting to see.”