BR-2 West Georgia didn’t have much time to celebrate their 35-6 over BR-27 Tuskegee last week in the D2 football playoffs semifinals. That’s not to say the Wolves didn’t savor the moment heading into Saturday’s semifinal contest at BR-1 Northwest Missouri.
“It was a really fun weekend to be in Carrollton to win back-to-back SR 2 championships. That was a big deal for our program,” said head coach Will Hall. “We played really well in all three phases against a really good Tuskegee program that won a lot of games in the last few years.”
We close out our pre-semifinals notebook series with a look at Hall’s mid-week press conference.
BANGED UP, BUT DEEP IN THE BACKFIELD
With the status of junior tailback Lamarcus Franks up in the air heading into Saturday’s game, the Wolves aren’t exactly short-handed in the backfield.
“We’ve got tremendous depth at running back,” Hall said. “Devontae Jackson has been playing really well, Aares McCall has played well when he was called upon and he did so again [against Tuskegee].”
Hall didn’t confirm whether or not Franks would be available Saturday, but nobody in Carrollton is panicking.
“If Lamarcus can go, he’ll be in the mix; but if he can’t we’ve got good depth,” Hall said. “We’ve had good depth all year and that’s a credit to our staff and our offseason program.”
HOMEGROWN HEROES HELP WOLVES
One of the big reasons the Wolves have shot to national prominence is the depth of hometown talent on the roster, starting with senior quarterback Dallas Dickey.
“I thought it was just fitting for him to play such a huge game in his last [home game],” Hall said of Dickey. “He’s been such a great winner and the greatest winner in school history. He’s been huge in helping turn this program around.”
With Dickey at the helm, Hall would like to see his signal caller’s career end with back to back wins.
“Hopefully we’ve got two more games where he can keep playing well.”
Dickey is one of eight Carrollton High School products on the West Georgia roster, including safety Carlos Hutton, tight end Brandon Walton and punter James Dugan.
“It’s huge,” Hall said. “In D2 football, if you can get good players from the surrounding areas, it always helps with the camaraderie (within the team) and with the fan base.”
That’s not to say the Wolves are limiting their search to the western exurbs of Atlanta.
“We’ve got to keep it going and we’ll continue to recruit the whole state of Georgia real hard,” Hall said. “But, if there’s a player from the surrounding area that we think can help us win a championship, we want to get him in here.”
FACING THE BLUE BLOODS
The Wolves don’t appear to be a team that’s intimidated by traveling to Northwest Missouri, with eight championship games and four national titles.
“It’s just a tremendous honor to be able to go up there and play them at their place. It’s something our players are looking forward to,” Hall said. “When you build a program and want to become a national powerhouse, which is what we’re trying to become here, you want to earn that right. You want to go through the rites of passage.
Being one of the top programs in the D2 football landscape is definitely on the minds of Hall and the West Georgia fanbase.
“It’s going to be great for our players to be able to play in their stadium at a place where they’ve won so many big games,” Hall said. “It’s going to be great for our people to see that stadium and see hopefully what we’re going several years down the road to be as a place that’s always going to be in the mix to be in this position.”
Hall offered an NBA analogy to sum up the program’s long-term goals.
“For the Bulls, before they made their great run, they had to beat the Pistons,” Hall said. “Before the Pistons could make their run, they had to beat the Celtics and the Lakers. For us to become a perennial national power, we’ve got to take the next step.”