by Andy Hilton, recruit757
By all measures, Woodside had an unforgettable year in 2011. They went undefeated in the regular season. They won their first District Championship. They topped rivals Phoebus and Hampton. The Wolverines may have fallen in the first round of the playoffs, but they found their way to new heights. Now Head Coach Danny Dodson wants to catch lightning in a bottle again.
Woodside showed well in their first scrimmage last week against Lake Taylor. The Wolverines’ first team outscored the Titan first team early on. Judging from the scrimmage, it appears that Woodside is strong like usual, but they might not have the depth they’ve had in the past.
“Losing Donnell Lewis is a big loss at quarterback,” the coach commented. “Darius Howell has done a good job stepping in and has done a good job in practice so far. I think we have a chance to be pretty good, but we’re going to be pretty young. We have some young guys out there that will have to grow into (their roles).”
It’s not just graduations at the skill positions that leave Coach Dodson looking for answers. Linemen Kyle Westfall, Andy Ruckman and Tyler Hargrove are gone, plus tight end Justin McFadden and kicker/punter Chris Moller have graduated as well.
“We’ll miss those guys, but in the case of Westfall, Ruckman and McFadden, we have three returning guys (to fill those holes), but they’re not playing their same positions this year so it’s like having six new guys up there (on the offensive line). Shane Westfall (Kyle’s younger brother) is a freshman starting at tackle and I have two sophomores starting, one at center and one at guard.”
Tim Flood returns for the Wolverines, as well as Tyrus Walker who has played wing back in Dodson’s Wing-T offense. Jay’Quan Lassiter will play tail back and half back, plus Juwan Leach returns at half back after missing last year due to a broken foot he suffered in the Granby scrimmage. Donta Butler and Quincy Jones will both see time in the secondary after seeing playing time last year.
“Tremaine Clark and Tim Flood will be back for us on defense this year. Tremaine played against Phoebus and then the rest of the season for us at linebacker. On the defensive line, Miles McConner will be back for us (SR DL 5-9 180). He’s not big, but he’s tough,” the coach commented. “Blaine Daniels is a tackle who played a little bit for us last year, but he’s done a good job in the offseason. Tyree Waldon, C.J. Towler and Evan Davis will rotate at ends on defense.”
To replace Chris Moller, Dodson has another soccer player in sophomore Shawn Butler who has tried out for the team and will look to start for the Wolverines on opening day.
Coach Dodson doesn’t make predictions. In fact, it often plays it close to the vest. He plans to coach a winning team this year, without a doubt.
“We always expect to win every game. That’s the way I am and that’s the way I’ve done things ever since I’ve been here,” the coach said. “I think that the key thing is that we need to see where we’re at (from our scrimmages). It’ll be good to see where we’re at, and see how we compete.”
– Andy Hilton