From the start of the season, White Knoll’s game results have validated the preparation the Timberwolves made in the offseason.
The Timberwolves have been perfect through five games, and tonight test themselves against Spring Valley (5-0) in their last non-region game.
First-year coach Dean Howell had little trouble getting the Timberwolves to accept his preseason plan, but their 5-0 record lends more weight to his strategy.
“Even when the kids believe in you, if you’re losing, it’s harder to keep them believing in what you’re doing,” he said.
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For White Knoll, Howell’s plan of maximum conditioning has directly translated to wins.
“The first thing we did was get in shape, and that has had a very positive effect on what we’ve been able to do,” Howell said.
“A lot of the success we’ve had has been in the fourth quarter, where we’ve been able to close out games because of our fitness.
“We’re able to focus on the task at hand instead of focusing on being tired,” he said.
While their record is perfect, Howell said the Timberwolves continue to strive for perfection on the field.
“We’ve put together some nice numbers, but we’ve got a long way to go,” said Howell.
Led by senior quarterback Craig Blakey, the Timberwolves are averaging 428.8 yards per game. Blakey and sophomore receiver Calev Grubbs are leading the passing game for an average of 138 yards per game.
Blakey, a first-year starter, adds a solid passing game to the Timberwolves’ traditionally strong rushing game.
“He’s got savvy,” Howell said. Putting Blakey under center “was a no-brainer for us. He’s a very good complement to our backs.”
Running backs Quin Jones and E’Mond Brown handle the bulk of the ground attack for the Timberwolves and each averages more than six yards per touch. Jones leads the team with 127.4 yards per game.
White Knoll’s defense, led by Caleb Brian and Jordan LeMay, has held opponents to 268 yards per game.
The Timberwolves hope their increased physicality will continue to bear fruit.
“We’ll certainly have to play nearly perfect against this Spring Valley team, and we’ve got our work cut out for us in region,” Howell said.