WINNSBORO — The Richard Winn Academy Eagles will cover a lot of ground this week in their match up against the Paladins of Ridge Christian, and not just the miles beneath their bus as they head to Summerville.
Richard Winn Academy coach Kenny Atkerson said that Ridge Christian runs the spread offense and often shifts into the I-formation. The exciting, and tricky part for the Eagles, is that Ridge Christian runs a lot of option plays and trick plays.
Atkerson is optimistic heading into the Sept. 21 contest because he has a full squad of healthy players ready to compete.
He does not think the long bus ride will be a factor in the game.
“Most of our trips are long and we expect the long rides,” he said. “We have had good practices this week and played well last week. I believe that we will be ready to play.”
He feels good about his team’s chances to build upon last week’s close loss and improve enough to finally crack that win column in 2012. The Eagles will continue to balance their attack, blending the run and the pass.
Last week, Atkerson felt his bunch played well in all three phases of the game and he expects another complete team effort this week.
This young bunch of Eagles continues to benefit from instructions in football fundamentals, sound tackling and doing the little things correctly.
Having a healthier team encourages the coach.
“Our attitude is great and getting healthy and being able to focus on our opponent more than ourselves and not having to move people around is very helpful,” he said.
One benefit from all the injuries is that a lot of players have had to play, giving the team greater depth as it approaches the second half of its season.
Though the losses have mounted and that has caused frustration, the coach is proud of his players for remaining positive for the most part throughout adversity.
“I am proud of their effort and myself and the coaches look forward to the rest of the season as well. I tell them all the time that I believe in them and they need to believe in themselves, each other, and the coaches and everything will be fine,” he said.
No doubt those words will be on the player’s minds as they ride the bus to 2168 Ridge Church Road in Summerville to take on the Paladins.
Of course, what this team really needs to find is the way to finish off a game as a win. Ridge Christian shares that predicament, being 0-5 this season. That hunger for a win will be motivating both teams.
“There is, however, nothing at this point that will help everything (for us) like a win,” Atkerson said.
The Eagles team will play hard on Friday night and they are looking forward not only to that action but to returning home to Richard Winn the following week for Homecoming game.
Atkerson realizes that this team would not be possible without the support of so many people.
“I’d like to extend a special thank you to all our cheerleaders, students, parents, and supporters,” he said. “Go Eagles.”