The West Montgomery High School varsity football team will play Wallace-Rose Hill Dec. 16 for the 1AA State Championship. Earlier this week, Jackie Morris talked with West Coach Nick Eddins for “The Fifth Quarter” radio show. Jackie asked the coach about last week’s 31-21 win over Mount Airy and what he’s expecting in this week’s game….
JM: Coach, tell us about the Mount Airy game (Dec. 9).
NE: What a team! They’re tough as nails. They came in and gave us a fight. This time of year, the line of scrimmage will tell the tale. Our kids came out and fought hard, and the defense played well. We felt like taking the run away from them, and we were able to hold them down a little bit. And our kids executed on offense. You saw Jackson Dozier with 90-some yards rushing. Not that he can’t do it, but we haven’t asked him to.
JM: I saw you Saturday, and you had Jackson with you. You told me you saw this developing at a critical time in the fourth quarter of the game.
NE: It’s a play we run, but haven’t run it much this year. It’s a tendency breaker. This time of year, it’s win or go home, and you have to pull out some things they don’t expect you to do.
JM: We can talk about Jackson’s run, and we can talk about Jo Leake and Damon Rhone and all the big plays they’ve made, but you had to keep Mount Airy out of the end zone.
NE: Our defensive line and linebackers played exceptionally well. Jake Allen played great up front. Linebackers Landon Williams, Robert Woodward and Ian Habjanic played great. Payton Coble, Eli Futrell and Jataviun Leake came in and played well, along with Holden Brown. They controlled the line of scrimmage and didn’t allow Mount Airy to get outside or get anything inside. Coach Holder told me, “I thought you all were pretty good on defense, but you were even better than I thought.” My hat is off to Coach Coggins, Coach Swan and Coach Neal for getting those guys ready.
JM: It was a great game to watch, but we’ve got to move on to Kenan Stadium and the championship game against Wallace-Rose Hill (Dec. 16).
NE: They run the wing-t offense, and they are really, really good at it, with a lot of good team speed. They are as good as advertised, and you expect that this time of year. They haven’t made it all the way through the east, just like we haven’t made it all the way through the west, without being a good football team. Defensively, they’ll shift and change and blitz a lot. They’re very aggressive and athletic, and it’s exactly what you’d expect. I’m just happy with the opportunity to coach these boys one more time and try to go win a state championship, the first one in school history.
JM: Coach Joe Price has done a great job at Wallace-Rose Hill. They’re always in the conversation. But, you know what? As the saying goes, we’re not so bad ourselves. I think we can set up and match up, and if our defense plays well and our offense keeps producing, we’ve got as good as chance of winning as they do.
NE: I agree with that. They do a good job, but we do, too. We have great coaches and good players over here. I feel like we can compete and play hard and, hopefully, create some turnovers and mistakes. We hope to limit our turnovers to zero and play great special teams and capture that elusive state championship we’ve been chasing at West for a long, long time. It’s really exciting to be in this position. It’s what you ask for and what you want. You want to be preparing, but it’s a lot of fun for our kids to get to play at Chapel Hill. It’s going to be a big time for them and for our fans. These kids have worked hard to get to this point.
JM: Congratulations for a fine season to you, your coaching staff, student athletes, faculty and student body. Everyone plays a part. And thank you for doing this interview.
NE: No problem, it’s been a lot of fun. Being 15-0 is a school record for wins. This team has accomplished so much, and hopefully they can do it one more time.
The 1AA State Championship game will air live on WMTG, Fri., Dec. 16. John and Jonathan Inman will have the play-by-play, with an expanded pregame show at 6:30 p.m. and kickoff at 7:35. Time Warner Cable will also televise the game and stream it for their subscribers.