John Limbaugh was happy to get some sense of normalcy back in his life over the past few weeks. Fayetteville held a 10-day spring football practice which concluded on Friday with a 27-13 win over Billingsley in a jamboree game.
“I haven’t smiled in a while,” Limbaugh said. “I told a kid that you better be smiling when you come on the football field, and he started grinning. It is all about the kids being able to accomplish their dreams and goals. They can come out here and have a normal life. It is great to get outside and breathe that fresh air. Spring football it’s nothing like it.”
The Wolves dominated the jamboree as they led 27-0 going into the final period. Hunter Hammonds had a huge game for Fayetteville.
Coming into the spring, Limbaugh wanted to focus on defensive intensity and executing on offense. The veteran was pleased with what he saw from his team in both aspects on Friday.
“They got after it on defense,” he said. “ They didn’t let them score until we put our seventh and eighth-graders in the game. We played the fourth quarter as a junior varsity quarter. We really shut them out. The intensity was there. We executed on offense. We were a couple of steps away from a couple of more touchdown passes. I think a step would’ve given us two more touchdown passes. … We executed well.”
Offensively, the Wolves had their way. Fayetteville ran the ball with success early and often against Billingsley.
The rising junior rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown on four carries. Cameron Hammonds, Evan Baker, and Pacey DeLoach recorded a rushing touchdown apiece for the Wolves. For the game, Fayetteville rushed for 221 yards.
Limbaugh was pleased with the way his offensive linemen dominated against Billingsley.
“The blocking was there,” Limbaugh said. “Coach Jason Jacks really has been working with the offensive line, and he has done a great job there. I was really pleased with the blocking that took place. Hunter Hammond had a 60-yard run. The blocking was phenomenal on that play. It was like that throughout the evening. It was really good to see. I am very excited for our fans, our team, and our coaches. It was a very much-needed win for us. Even though it was a spring game, it was a much-needed win.”
The win gives the Wolves confidence heading into summer workouts. Fayetteville lost their last five games of the season in 2020.
The Wolves (2-8) dropped several close games in 2020. Fayetteville lost three games by seven points or less. Two of the losses came against 2A, Area 4 foes Ranburne and Vincent.
“We didn’t get what we wanted to get accomplished,” Limbaugh said. “Last year, we wanted to get to the playoffs and take it from there. Quite frankly, we thought we would. Everybody dealt with COVID, but it did affect us. I thought we dealt with it in some ways very well, but it did affect us. We had to do this, and we had to do that. It kind of took away some things we wanted to accomplish. I think it made us better people and stronger people.”
Limbaugh said his team gained strength from going through the challenges of playing a season during a pandemic.
“I think that it has given us an edge for this year in a lot of ways,” Limbaugh said. “We learned that we can get through things, and we can overcome some things. It is time to take that mask off and play some football. It’s time to do things that we know that we are capable of.”