WINNSBORO — Richard Winn’s winning streak, which dates all the way back to last year’s regular season, came to a screeching halt Friday at Wardlaw Academy.
“We’ve had it fairly easy up until this point, and we now realize that we’re going to have to play a little harder. Now we have to put this behind us,” Coach Dan Dickerson said of the loss.
The Eagles must regroup quickly, because Greenwood Christian is coming to town Friday, and that will not be an easy game for Dickerson’s squad. Kick off is set for 7:30 p.m.
Aside from an early season hiccup to Andrew Jackson Academy, Greenwood has been rolling through their schedule. The Hawks of have won five straight, and the two teams are currently tied for third in the SCISA standings.
“We probably match up pretty well. They’ve got some bigger lineman than we have. We’ve probably got a little more overall team speed than they do. They run the option and actually read and so that creates a little difficulty for the defense, they’ve got to play assignment football,” Dickerson said when comparing the teams.
Against Wardlaw, Richard Winn’s offense, even in a losing effort, flexed some of the offensive muscle they have shown all season.
The Eagles gained over 300 yards and were led by Gunnar Hensley, who accounted for 213 total yards and three touchdowns.
The usually greedy defense was not able to match the offensive production. Richard Winn allowed 444 yards, something uncharacteristic of a defense that has been shutting down opponents all season.
Nic Stillwell with seven tackles and Chris Christianson with five were the only two players to account for over three stops.
Wardlaw’s special teams played a big factor in Richard Winn’s first loss of the season. The Patriots averaged 62.5 yards on two kick returns, including a 95-yard return for a touchdown early in the second quarter.
Dickerson acknowledged an undefeated season was one of the team’s goals, especially after coming so close last year. Still, the loss far from dashes any of the Eagle’s championship aspirations.
“With one loss all we have to do is win out, and we still would be the region champions and be the number one seed going into the playoffs,” he said.
One of the “the big things they got going for them” is the motivation the Eagles will have after their undefeated season was tainted, something Dickerson believes is important moving forward.
“It will give us a little extra motivation,” he said. “It won’t just be business as usual, the way it was for the first part of the season. We realize we have to really get the job done and I think that motivation is going to help us.”
Timothy Wooten is a mass communications major at Winthrop University. He is from Winnsboro.