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Timberland High School
St. Stephen

Timberland trying ‘to get better every week’

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

St. Stephen—It’s not often that a nine-win season seems like a disappointment. However, the Timberland football team still captured a region championship and advanced to the third round of the playoffs before falling to Dillon.

This year’s group of Wolves may experience some of those same ups and downs, but head coach Art Craig wants his team to continue to improve throughout the year and have a chance to make a deep run in the postseason.

 “I thought we had a good fall camp. We’re extremely young in some spots, but the thing I was impressed with was that our kids played hard. We’ve got to cut out some things and find a way to be a little more explosive on offense. We’re going to be a blue collar team. It’s not going to be real pretty sometimes, but we’re going to hang in there, try to get better each week and see what happens down the stretch,” Craig said.

Timberland has fewer than 40 players on its roster, with several players having to start on both sides of the ball. That lack of depth can show up at times, and was part of the reason the Wolves wore down in a season-opening loss to Class AAAA North Myrtle Beach, 14-6.

“Depth for us is always an issue. Unfortunately we have to play some kids both ways because if we don’t, the fall off is so tremendous that it doesn’t give us a chance sometimes,” Craig said.

Defensively, the Wolves gave great effort and forced five turnovers. Linebackers William Chandler, Terrance Smalls, Matt Williamson, Josh Hill, Darius Milligan and Dakari Wynn made numerous plays while Jordan Wilford and Kevin Wilson were disruptive up front.

“For us to have three returning starters (on defense) and be put in the situations they were put in against a team like North Myrtle Beach, I thought our kids played extremely well,” Craig said. “They play hard and that’s what I’m pleased with. When we got down 14-0, we dug in and didn’t give up. We were a penalty away from having a shot to tie it.”

The Timberland offense had trouble finding its rhythm and didn’t help their cause with four turnovers. Jaquez Mitchell started at quarterback while Roger Gibbs and Williamson got carries in the backfield. Wilson, Sam Driggers, Ian Balzano, Javar Jenkins and Kevin Hartley were on the offensive line.

“I’m more displeased with us not taking care of our business when we can. We had too many three-and-outs. We’ve got to do a better job finishing,” Craig said.

The one bright spot was senior running back Kevin Williams, who gained 121 yards on 17 carries with the team’s lone touchdown.

“He got dinged up this week at practice and we weren’t even sure if he was going to play. He wasn’t at 100 percent and still did a really good job,” Craig said.

Timberland will look to bounce back when they travel to Woodland Aug. 25. The Wolves won last year’s matchup, 27-21.

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