In the White Knoll Timberwolves’ longest season ever, the spotlight has not often fallen upon quarterback Delvin Riley.
But White Knoll’s double-wing offense — installed when coach Gordon Walters took over in 2009 — has never been as successful for the Timberwolves as this year, Riley’s first under center.
“We were just talking about how far we’ve come and how successful we’ve been this season, and a large part of that is thanks to Delvin,” Walters said. “Leadership and character are his two best qualities, and it’s rare to find that combo plus athletic ability, but Delvin has it.”
Riley is not the primary ball carrier, or the team’s leading scorer — but he is the team’s leader.
“His main job — and it seems like a small thing but it’s really not — the main thing that Delvin does is to keep the huddle intact,” Walters said. “His job is to keep 11 guys doing what they are supposed to do.”
“Everyone feeds off me in the huddle, so I try to just keep everybody up and focused, and let them follow my lead,” Riley said.
So while Riley has posted 317 rushing yards and 239 passing yards on 14-of-34 passing, much of what he has accomplished does not show up in statistics.
Teammates Quinn Jones and Lamar Ray each have racked up more than 1,000 yards rushing and the Timberwolves have advanced the ball 3,757 yards on 612 attempts with their ground game.
Riley is happy with his hands-off role in that advancement.
“It’s just fun being able to play with all these great guys,” the senior said. “My offensive line is great; my center, I always know he’s going to give me a good snap; and the backs take care of the ball and run really hard.”
In another offense, Riley might put the ball in the air more often. “Delvin can certainly throw the ball,” Walters said, “and it is an option that we have.”
However, at 10-3 and in the Class 4A-Division I semifinals against Dutch Fork on Friday night, Riley and the Timberwolves are hardly focused on showcasing individual talents.
“We run the ball and we just know that’s how we’re going to win,” Riley said. “Just get yards, that’s what our focus is. Don’t go backward.”
The Timberwolves have run over and through many obstacles to post the program’s best record, including its first playoff victory.
White Knoll knocked off Wando 25-20 in the first round, then held off Irmo 3-0 to stay alive for the semifinals.
“They’ve certainly bypassed a lot of people’s expectations. We’re excited to still be playing,” Walters said. “It’s just an honor to be part of getting the program to this point.”