Plenty of rest, but a lack of practice sums up the Falcons heading into the Wilson game
By Drake Horton
Darlington – It feels like an eternity, but in actuality it has been three weeks since the Darlington Football took the field to compete in an actual live football game.
Back on September 7, the Falcons were taking their normally scheduled “bye week” for the season before getting back to action against the Crestwood Knights on September 14.
Instead, Hurricane Florence forced the cancelation of not only that game, but the next game following that, the Thursday, September 20 matchup against the South Florence Bruins.
So for the past three weeks head coach John Jones and his staff has not been able to see or work with any of the players.
“It’s hard to get better when you don’t see your guys,” Jones said. “We couldn’t see them at all; we didn’t see our guys at all.”
With the weather and flooding waters now finally gone, Darlington can now get back to action on the field.
Unfortunately, however, Darlington has to hope that there will not be any rust from the three week layoff, because the Falcons first game back, while at home, is against the Wilson Tigers to open up region play in what some might consider the toughest region in all of 4A.
In an effort to combat against the “rust factor” Jones said that the Falcons would more than likely be dialing back the playbook some for their game against Wilson due to the fact that the players have only practiced twice since September 5.
The Falcons are already behind the eight ball in terms of practice and games reps when it comes to Wilson as the Tigers were able to practice and play, albeit in a loss to West Florence this past Friday.
Darlington currently sits 0-3 on the year, but with the non-conference games not having any bearing on playoff seeding the Falcons’ are basically getting a fresh start with Wilson and will need to make the most of it if they look to make playoffs this year.
In a region that currently holds three of the top five team in lower-state portion of 4A the margin for error is very small.
Throughout the first three games of the season, depth and injures and missed assignments have been the biggest factors in Darlington’s poor start.
While depth might not be able to be corrected this season and the coaches were unable to work any with the players over the layoff, the extra time may have been able to help with some of the injuries.
Heading into the game against Crestwood, the Falcons looked like they were going to be down three starting defensive linemen and one starting offensive line.
“We are healthier from a d-line standpoint,” Jones said. “We should go into this game with all of our d-linemen back. We haven’t had them since the week before Lamar. We are still questionable about one offensive tackle and we’re still questionable with a running back, a quarterback and a wide receiver. We are going into this game with four out as opposed to going into the Crestwood game with nine out.”
While four players are still out, this is the healthiest Darlington has been in over a month and it is going to need all the advantages it can get with the lack of practice time it has had over the three weeks.