Coach Dean Howell’s White Knoll team faced an uphill battle against Spring Valley this past Friday.
“I knew it was going to be a struggle offensively, and it was, but our defense played great,” Dean Howell said. “We didn’t get a lot of offense, but we got just enough offense, and scored just enough points.”
The Timberwolves improved to 4-2 with a 13-7 win at home against the Vikings, and they are The State’s Team of the Week.
“We were very fortunate to win the game. When you turn the ball over four times, when you play against a good team like Spring Valley is, it’s very rare that you’re able to win when you’re not playing your best game,” Howell said.
Inclement weather caused problems for both squads, and the Timberwolves fumbled five times, but the turnover margin came out even.
The Timberwolves, not typically a passing team, were not shy about putting the ball in the air, and Calev Grubbs completed 70 percent of his passes, adding 86 yards to the Timberwolves’ effort.
“We are going to be a run-first team, there’s no question about that, but at the same time, when people start loading the box, we’re going to throw it,” Howell said.
“We’re not necessarily going to beat people with our passing game – just to use it efficiently and keep people honest.”
White Knoll outgained Spring Valley by 100 yards, its defense giving up six first downs to the Vikings.
A pair of field goals from Daniel Fulmer – of 39 and 32 yards – gave the Timberwolves the enduring lead.
“There hasn’t been a lot of coaching with him; he showed up being able to kick,” Howell said of the soccer player who joined the team late in the summer. “He does have a strong leg, and he doesn’t get rattled. He doesn’t let the moment get to him.”
Fulmer’s second field goal set the final score with eight minutes left.
White Knoll has won four consecutive games, and Howell is working to keep his team humble and motivated.
“I told them that you’re never quite as good as you think you are and you’re never quite as bad as you think you are,” he said.
He told the Timberwolves this early in the season after they opened with back-to-back losses.
This week, he is reiterating it.
“I don’t think we’re nearly as good as we can be,” Howell said. “But if we focus on being the best team that we can possibly be, we’ll be OK, we’ll be contenders.”