The White Knoll Timberwolves are aiming to stay on track this season.
“We’ve gotten better every year,” said coach Gordon Walters, whose team has reached the playoffs each of the past three years but is striving for the program’s first postseason victory. In its first two postseason games, White Knoll failed to score. Last year, the Timberwolves finished with a 31-6 first-round loss to Greenwood.
“We had a really good spring and a good summer, and it’s just carried over. We’re just focusing on continuing that momentum,” Walters said.
But the Timberwolves have a few kinks to work out.
“We only have one returning offensive linemen, and that’s been a big concern for us,” Walters said.
The lone returner, left tackle Christian Taylor, will be a good anchor for the line, but Walters does not know what to expect from the untested unit.
“He’s a strong athlete and he’s got the potential to be a great leader, and we’re going to need that,” Walters said.
So much of what the Timberwolves plan to do depends on how quickly the offensive line gets its footing.
At quarterback this year will be Delvin Riley, who played defensive back last year.
“He’s looking good, and we expect good things from him,” Walters said.
Lamar Ray, a cornerstone of the Timberwolves’ strong running game in recent seasons, returns in the backfield. Alex Brown is back at tight end, and Julian Johnson is expected to be the Timberwolves’ primary receiver.
For now, Walters does not know how balanced the action will be. Ray, who averaged nearly 200 yards per game last year, is having a strong preseason, Walters said, but the Timberwolves might not be a running team this year.
“At the skill positions, I think we’ve got some really good players, but they’re only as good as the offensive line,” he said. “Offensively, we’re like everybody else trying to search for an identity right now. We really won’t know until we get into a scrimmage.”
The Timberwolves’ schedule is tough. The season begins with a game against A.C. Flora and rolls into a tough region schedule with three away games.
“We sure hope that those new linemen are going to work out for us, because they are going to be thrown into the fire,” Walters said. “I think they will pick up quickly. They’re going to have to.”