By Robbie Robertson
Webster Progress Times
Aug. 11 at Aberdeen (scrimmage)
Aug. 18 Choctaw County
Aug. 25 at Okolona
Sept. 1 Smithville
Sept. 8 at Starkville Aca.
Spet. 15 Strayhorn
Sept. 22 at J.Z. George
Sept. 29 at Eupora
Oct. 6 Calhoun City
Oct. 13 Open
Oct. 20 at Winona
Oct. 27 Leflore County
After spending the last nine years in Class 4A football, first-year East Webster head football coach Ron Price will be making the move to MHSAA Class 2A play.
Price comes to East Webster after two years as the offensive coordinator at Itawamba. Before his stop in Fulton, Price was the head coach for seven years at New Albany. Price replaces coach Doug Wilson, who was 11-3 last year and took the Wolverines to the third round of the playoffs, losing 48-32 to Baldwyn.
‚ÄúIt was a great opportunity for me and my family,‚Äù Price said. ‚ÄúWe are very excited to be here at East Webster. This is a great small town that really supports its football team.‚Äù
It‚Äôs also a whole new learning experience for Price, dropping down to Class 2A with a whole new set of teams.
Price will get his feet wet immediately with Class 3A Choctaw County on Aug. 18, a team East Webster beat 21-18 last year.
‚ÄúI think Choctaw County has turned into a good rivalry game,‚Äù Price said. ‚ÄúBeing my first game and they have a new coach at Choctaw County, it should be good game. He was an assistant at Pontotoc and head coach at Amory so I‚Äôm familiar with what he does. More important than who we play, we are going to be a really young team. We preach to the kids that you have a preseason, your district and the playoffs. You have to hake each phase one at a time.‚Äù
Then on Aug. 25, Price will get to travel North as the Wolverines visit Okolona, a team they beat 25-6 last year.
‚ÄúThey also have a new coach but I know they are going to be very athletic,‚Äù Price said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs hard to know what they are going to do. But I know it‚Äôs our first road game and that will be a challenge there. We just have to work on getting lined up on defense and taking advantage of our scoring opportunities.‚Äù
Then on Sept. 1, the Wolverines will host Class 1A Smithville in a game that both coaches hope to turn into something special.
‚ÄúWe hope to turn this into a special game for both teams,‚Äù Price said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs the anniversary of the day that both East Webster and Smithville were hit by tornadoes. We want to try and build a unique rivalry. These are two communities that were hit by tornadoes and have rebuilt back stronger than ever and a big part of that has to do with the sports teams. We‚Äôre trying to come up with a name for the game and even a trophy.‚Äù
Then on Sept. 8, the Wolverines will travel to Starkville Academy to take on the Class AAA Volunteers.
‚ÄúThis is the first time the two schools have ever played,‚Äù Price said. ‚ÄúWe hope it will be a big attendance for both schools. We have been going there this summer to do some 7-on-7 so we are familiar with them. It‚Äôs a good chance to play a good opponent. The people I have talked to are excited about the schools playing.‚Äù
Another new team to the schedule is Strayhorn, a team the Wolverines beat 44-13 in the playoffs last year.
‚ÄúI know East Webster played them last year in the playoffs,‚Äù Price said. ‚ÄúI think Coach Wilson had a difficult time finding opponents and this will be a quality opponent. They are a two tight, power I team. You don‚Äôt have to guess what they are going to do but you have to be good enough to stop them. This will also be homecoming week and you fight a lot of distractions that week so we will have to work on being focused.‚Äù
The Wolverines will then wrap up non-division play on Sept. 2 with a trip to the Delta to face J.Z. George.
‚ÄúI watched them this spring and they are a wing-T team and you don‚Äôt see that from week to week,‚Äù Price said. ‚ÄúChoctaw County will do the same thing so we will have some experience defending it. You just have to be fundamentally sound.‚Äù
The Wolverines will then open Division 2-2A play with rival Eupora, a team they shut out 27-0 last year to end the regular season.
‚ÄúIt took me about 10 minutes to realize how big that game is,‚Äù Price said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a real rivalry game. It‚Äôs usually the last game of the season but now it‚Äôs the first game (of division play) and will be very important as to how we finish in the division. It‚Äôs the second year in a row we will have to travel to Eupora but that‚Äôs just the way it fell with the realignment. That week should take care of itself.‚Äù
It doesn‚Äôt get any easier the next week as the defending 2A champions Calhoun City comes rolling into town.
‚ÄúRight behind Eupora on the rivalry list is Calhoun City,‚Äù Price said. ‚ÄúWe talked about this week and if we wanted to compete, you have to get your team to the level of Calhoun City. Playing them and Eupora back-to-back, you know exactly where you stand. If you can be sitting at 2-0 after those two games, you feel good about yourself. Win or lose, it will be a 48-minute battle. Last year, it was 14-6 at the half and ended up 44-6. We just have to play with them for four quarters.‚Äù
The Wolverines will get an open week on Oct. 13 before ending the season at Winona on Oct. 20 before hosting Leflore County for Senior Night on Oct. 27. Last year, East Webster beat Leflore 39-16 in the opening round of the 2A playoffs.
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt really like open weeks but it will possibly give us a chance to get healthy for the last two games,‚Äù Price said. ‚ÄúIt doesn‚Äôt get any easier with Winona. They are athletic and will bring back most of their players. Hopefully we can take advantage of the two weeks and take care of business.
‚ÄúLeflore County will be athletic as well. It‚Äôs the last game of the season and I‚Äôm certain we are going to be fighting for playoff position. It‚Äôs like the SEC West really. There are no easy games. You have to strap it on every week.‚Äù