Highlanders hope trial by fire will expedite growth

Published 12:01 am Friday, August 30, 2019

ROAN MOUNTAIN – One thing was evident after last week’s loss to the Happy Valley Warriors when Coach Glenn White looked back seven days ago and that was simply that his young players are going to have to step up and step up quickly even if it is by throwing them under the Friday Night Lights and learning by trial by fire.
White felt like his ‘Lander team played better than the scoreboard showed but in the end, it all came down to 11 physically worn out players who had played both sides of the football for the entire game before finally running out of gas.
“The veterans that came back are very tough because we played 11 guys and they didn’t come off the field last week,” White stated about his team’s effort last week. “We are going to have to change that.
“We have some talent that is raw but I am going to have to put them under the lights, there’s no doubt about that. The reason we lost that ball game is that we ran out of gas.
“I thought we held Happy Valley pretty well with the rushing game. They hit our backside corner over there and he just cramped upon us and I think if they are not the best, they are in the top two teams on our schedule,” White continued. “I put Hampton up there also.”
White has preached since he was named the head coach at Cloudland that the difference between a good football team and a great football team is a commitment to the weight room in the offseason and his point was driven home last week.
“I told them that they are going to have to understand that they are going to have to commit to an offseason weight program. That’s where we lost that ball game at, we lost that ball game in June,” White stated.
“Several times I was on the four-lane near Happy Valley at 7 am and they were working out and I only had three boys in the weight room. You can’t win football games doing that.
“The only reason we stayed in that game was because of our toughness and I told the boys that and I challenged them with that,” White commented. “We do have a weight room period now and that helps but in the summer they are going to have to commit.”
After last week’s contest, White said that his hand will be forced to turn to some of his younger players to step up to lend a breather from time to time for the starters.
Sometimes there isn’t enough time to prepare for every scenario, but White hopes that the young players will seize the opportunity to become better players and be able to be counted on as the season progresses.
“We have some young boys that are good size and we are just going to have to put them in the fire. With Jed (Childress), Gary (Julian), (Eli) Presswood, and David (Miller) they are going to have to have a rest,” said White.
White knows that Friday night will be another challenge as South Greene comes calling and are a team who experienced great success last season.
“They went to the third round last year I think and they are big. I still don’t think they are better than Happy Valley or Hampton. I may be wrong and may get run off the field Friday night. I think that we can capitalize some on their size. It’s going to boil down to how these kids play Friday night,” stated White.
“Scotty Verran has it going down there and it couldn’t happen to a better man.”
One thing that the Highlanders have going for them this week is that they will be on their home turf and White is hoping that the community will come out and support his team in their home opener like they did last week at Happy Valley.
“Anytime that you are home it helps,” White added. “You don’t have to travel or any of that. It’s our home opener and I am curious to see how many people will be here. We had a packed house on our sideline last Friday night. It’s a football school.”
Kickoff will be at 7:30 pm at Orr Field.

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