White Knoll coach Dean Howell has witnessed the team’s drastic improvement since a Week 0 loss against Fort Mill.
Howell said his team “didn’t have a clue” what was going on at times in the 33-28 defeat Aug. 20 at the Battle for the Bluff. Since then, the Timberwolves have rattled off five straight wins heading into this week’s Region 5-4A opener against Irmo.
White Knoll won its first region title in school history last season.
“If you compare us now until where we were then, it is not even close,” Howell said last week before practice. “We’ve got to continue to get better and better and better, week in and week out.”
White Knoll has won three of its five games by 20 points or more. Last week, the Timberwolves rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit to defeat Spring Valley 28-21 in overtime.
“We’ve been in tough situations before and I felt if we kept playing, they had some guys playing both ways, I felt eventually, we would hit our stride. We did it there at the end when it mattered. We’ll take it,” Howell said after the game.
White Knoll is led on offense by quarterback Calev Grubbs and running back Maurice Jones. Grubbs, a Lander baseball commit, has accounted for nearly 1,300 yards of total offense and 12 touchdowns this season. He scored the game-tying touchdown with 23 seconds left to force overtime against Spring Valley.
Jones has rushed for more than 100 yards in each game this season and is third in the Midlands with 824 yards on the ground and eight TDs.
“He is very special,” Howell said of Jones. “He is not a big kid, but he has great balance. I think against Lugoff-Elgin (two weeks ago) he broke 18 tackles in the game.”
Jones had 121 yards against the Vikings last week. He was a member of the JV team last year as he watched E’Mond Brown, who went on to play at Methodist College, rush for more than 1,800 yards.
“I’m not where I want to be, but I am working towards it. I gotta keep running big and running hard,” Jones said.
Defensively, White Knoll is giving up around 18 points a game, and Brandon Serio leads the team in tackles with 68.
“If we keep working hard, everything will fall into place,” Jones said.