Wewa prepares for season opener

Thankful to be on the field following a heavy rain, head coach Bobby Johns led the Wewahitchka Fighting Gator football team in a spirited practice last Thursday, August 12.

“We weren’t sure we’d be able to get outside due to the weather,” said Johns, as he and his fellow coaches ran the team through a series of defensive drills.

Johns, along with assistant coaches Jerry Gaskins and Jarrett Segers, hustled varsity players through linebacker techniques and pursuit angles. Two other groups of players and coaches were working at different parts of the field.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Johns said. “We’ve got to get better on defense. We’ve been an average to below-average defense, all four years I’ve been here.”

Last season, Johns said his team had “what I would consider an elite offense, but a very average defense.” 

In the 2020 campaign, the Gators averaged better than 400 yards  from scrimmage while scoring 30 points per game.   However, they surrendered 34 points per game in their four losses.

 Johns hopes to reverse those defensive numbers this year by “putting our best 11 guys on defense.”

Switching the practice from run defense to pass defense, Johns said they needed to improve on their ability to make reads, because “we don’t play with our eyes (yet),” a skill to be put to the test tomorrow night when the Brookwood School Warriors, of Thomasville, Georgia, visits Wewa. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Central.

“We don’t really know much (about them),” said Johns. “They’re going to throw it around a bunch, unless they’ve changed.”

Assessing the Gators’ advantages, Johns said “our strength is speed. We can run, and we have good experience on the line.”

Johns hoped to get a full practice on Thursday so that he and his staff could “give the kids Friday off (because) we think it would help our guys to have an extra day off before next week.”

Besides having optimism about the 2021 Gators and their quest to improve on last season’s 6-4 record, Johns and the team were looking forward to the return of Coach Gene Rollins this week from his rehabilitation in Gainesville following a recent heart transplant.

Meet the Editor

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper NonDoc.com during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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