Ready to rumble

Published 8:02 pm Thursday, October 20, 2011

Washington coach Sport Sawyer and his coaching staff are hoping to jumpstart the team and snap its three-game losing streak by making adjustments on offense and defense as heads into tonight’s homecoming matchup with South Central. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

The final stretch of the regular season has been tough on Washington as it heads into Week 10 in the midst of a three-game losing streak, while having to find a way to replace the production that departed with the loss eight players to injury, with one of them being quarterback Jimmy Williams.
Despite the recent woes, Washington coach Sport Sawyer and his staff have entered this week with a sense of urgency and are refusing to roll over and play dead. With that in mind, Sawyer has taken a proactive approach to this week’s practices and has made key adjustments on both sides of the ball.
“We’ve lost three in a row and our guys are down a little bit, but I’m not going to stand by and watch. We’re going to make some changes and find a way to win,” Sawyer said.
Replacing a starting signal-caller is tough for any team, but when the offense is centered around that player’s abilities it makes it even more challenging. That’s the scenario that Washington (4-4, 2-3) found itself in after Williams suffered a severe concussion and a broken nose during the team’s Week 8 loss to conference foe White Oak.
The Pam Pack’s mid-line option offense was installed to take advantage of Williams’ ability to run and pass, but with Williams out Sawyer is forced to make some late season changes to the offense.
“We’re going to try a little something different this week,” Sawyer said. “I don’t really want to tip my hat but we will have a different look on offense.”
Sawyer did say that he will look to get running backs Keane Graham, Stevie Green and Pernell Razor more involved in the offense. Sawyer said that while Razor, a 5-foot-5 senior, may not have much bulk, he has plenty of fight in him.
“That kid, he don’t way a buck-40 but he has a heart that I wish all my kids played with,” Sawyer said.
The Washington attack could use a reboot as it heads into tonight’s homecoming battle with conference rival South Central (3-6, 1-4) having been outscored 103-7 collectively by No. 3 Havelock, White Oak and D.H. Conley over the past three weeks.
“We have to get some offense, we’ve scored seven points in the last three games,” Sawyer said. “That’s ridiculous.”
With Williams out, freshman Patrick Thompson got the start at QB against D.H. Conley and shared snaps with junior D.J. Bell. Both struggled, and after the team’s 41-0 loss to the second-place Vikings, Sawyer said his team must block better.
“We just didn’t move the ball on offense at all,” Sawyer said. “It starts up front with the blocking and then to the receivers and backs and we just didn’t block at all. It doesn’t matter who you got at quarterback, you have to block.”
Sawyer has made some changes up front as his team treks towards its matchup with the Falcons and his proactive approach has extended to his defense.
For the third week in a row Washington will face a run-heavy, wing offense and Sawyer has made some changes to better prepare for that attack.
“South Central runs a lot, so we’re going to go to a 4-4,” Sawyer said. “From the film that we saw, their quarterback doesn’t throw a whole lot so we’re going to put eight in the box and we’re going to fight. We’re not going to sit there and let teams get on us.”
Washington heads into this week tied for fourth place in the Coastal Conference standings with West Craven and White Oak, who each have a 2-3 conference record and trail No. 3 Havelock (9-0, 5-0), D.H. Conley (7-2, 4-1) and West Carteret (7-2, 3-2), while South Central and Jacksonville are at the bottom with 1-4 records.
Washington will close out the regular season next Friday at home against West Carteret.