Learning how to win again was one of the major focuses entering this fall’s football season, according to South Whidbey head coach Mark Hodson.
Apparently the Falcons are quick learners.
South Whidbey is currently riding a four-game winning streak following a 47-13 win over La Conner on Friday night at Jim Leierer Stadium at Waterman Field. The Falcons have benefited from an administrative decision to play an independent league schedule following a winless season in 2016 and low participation. They’ve been pitted largely against class 2B schools in games which, for the most part, have been closely contested. The move has been received positively by coaches and players halfway through the seasons.
“It’s good for us,” Hodson said. “I think it’s obvious that we’re playing at our talent level. If we were playing anywhere else, I think we’d be playing above where we should be. We’re competing at a 2B level and I think it’s evident.”
But, that doesn’t mean they’re not itching to return to a league with a regular schedule.
“I’d like to come back to the conference,” junior running back Caden Spear said. “That would be a goal and it’d be really cool to come back to. But, I’m liking it right now.”
The victory over La Conner was one of the Falcons’ two blowout victories this season. South Whidbey led 21-0 at halftime following rushing touchdowns by Spear and senior running back Hunter Ewart. Spear’s first touchdown came just four minutes into the game when he found a gap in the Braves’ defense and exploited it for a 50-yard scamper. He finished with three total rushing touchdowns.
Like any appreciative running back, he credited his offensive line with pushing aside La Conner’s defenders.
“I was impressed by our line,” Spear said. “If the line wouldn’t have been there, the score wouldn’t have been like that.”
“It felt pretty humbling and cool to do that, because all of your hard work is finally coming out to show,” he added.
Falcon junior quarterback Kody Newman has taken over a majority of the snaps following a season-ending injury to senior Greyson Clements in the third game of the season. Newman added to the scoring tirade with a rushing touchdown of his own in the third quarter, while also helping move the offense with pass completions here and there. Freshman running back CarlHenry Chapman and sophomore quarterback Kole Nelson also scored late in the game.
Newman said a number of different playmakers have stepped up to fill the void Clements left, both on offense and defense.
“It’s been tough, he’s definitely a key factor,” Newman said. “He was great to have at quarterback and he could mix it up at receiver. Overall, he’s a great player that we’re missing, but people are stepping up these past few games.”
Newman is also in favor of the independent schedule and said the team has enjoyed playing in close games; four of South Whidbey’s games have been decided by a margin of seven points or less.
While South Whidbey is 0-2 against 1A opponents (Coupeville and Chimacum) this season, the Falcons are 3-0 against 2B teams (Ocosta, Friday Harbor and La Conner). The Falcons’ fourth victory came against British Columbia’s Valley View Secondary.
Two of South Whidbey’s victories came by a margin of less than a touchdown, with its 20-19 victory over Friday Harbor on Sept. 29 being exceptionally close. He also said the team is taking its four-game winning streak in stride with reactions ranging from feeling impartial to adding incentive to continue winning.
“Some players are shaking it off, but to other people, they’ve never won before,” Newman said. “This is definitely more motivation. The first few times is like, OK. But, now, this is actually like a streak. We’re using that as motivation, like we can go 8-2 or 7-3.”