Winterboro High School’s football team will venture into uncharted territory when the Bulldogs travel to face Class 1A, Region 5 foe Spring Garden on Friday night at 7.
Though the Bulldogs (2-0) have never faced the Panthers (0-1) in a regular-season contest, the teams met in a 2017 spring jamboree at JSU -- a scrimmage Spring Garden won 8-7.
Winterboro head coach Alan Beckett said he’s familiar with the program Spring Garden has built.
“Coach (Jason) Howard has built something really nice,” Beckett said. “His kids always play hard for him, he has a great scheme and has put together a solid staff.
"I'm worried about how serious our players and coaches will take Spring Garden. People were looking up their way-back history. Their history is all in the last 10 years. They just do the little things right and win.”
Beckett highlighted several Panthers who stand out from the pack.
“Luther Welsh is impressive at fullback/linebacker,” Beckett said. “His dad was really good and played college (football). I think Luther is going to be better. (Quarterback) Lucas Ivey is really solid. Christian Crider is a very impressive linemen.”
The Panthers fell to Cedar Bluff 28-6 in their season opener last Friday, while Winterboro enters Week 2 coming off an 18-8 victory over B.B. Comer that had its ups and downs.
"We turned the ball over four times last week,” Beckett said. “We've focused on ball security this week.”
He added several pieces on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball are coming into their own.
"I've been proud of our offensive line,” Beckett said. “Cade Sanders, Darrius Middlebrooks, Jay Garrett, Brandon Dandridge and Demondre Robinson have all blocked well. At this point, they have a lot of snaps under their belt.
"Brody Hamm is starting to really get the feel at inside linebacker. Shaun Vincent has been a really strong game manager at quarterback and (has) been a leader.”
Wide receiver Nyles Ashley caught a 26-yard touchdown from Vincent to get the Bulldogs rolling last week.
“Last year, he was in the band,” Beckett said. “This is his first year to play football.”
Through two games, the Bulldogs have allowed eight points. Beckett said defensive coordinator Anthony Jacks has been a boon for the team as a whole.
"Coach Jacks has really brought a lot to the table for this team,” Beckett said. “He has made all the players better and all the coaches better. He brings a positive energy to the field daily. I'm really happy where we are execution-wise on defense. Coach Jacks has brought several wrinkles to the kick game and offense that have been huge.”