NEWBERRY — Newberry County Touchdown Club players of the month were told they now stood as an example — or a warning in some cases — for those who followed them.
“Now that you’ve become players of the month, that’s not an easy task,” said Jerome Singleton, current commissioner of the S.C. High School League. “Having been a former football player, it’s a lot more to it than just showing up on game day.”
Singleton, guest speaker at last Monday’s Touchdown Club meeting, told the players of a farmer who planted a Chinese bamboo tree – watering it, fertilizing it, with no results showing after five years. But shortly after that five years, the tree grew 90 feet.
“What really occurred during those five years was a strong foundation being built,” Singleton said. “Instead of that tree growing up, the roots were growing down and wide.”
Similar to the tree, Singleton said many people may assume that a football player shows up to the game, ready to go, not knowing the many hours that were put in that made all the difference.
With the accomplishment of being named player of the month, Singleton said came great responsibility and a platform to serve as a warning or example to everyone around them.
“You are influencing others that you don’t even know. You are in a leadership position,” Singleton told the players. “I ask that you take that, use that platform for things that can be very helpful.”
From leadership to health, wellness or community service, Singleton said that each player should take the opportunity to use this new leadership role in a positive way.
So far this season, Whitmire High School’s coach Charlie Jenkins said their team had played two bad games and two good Class A football teams since last month’s meeting. The two bad games the team played, Jenkins said were both played in one week due to rain – one on Monday, one on Friday.
“We lost to Ridge Spring, those guys just play hard,” Jenkins said. “They just get after it and I look for them to go far in their region and in the playoffs.”
The Wolverines start region play this week at Ware Shoals and Jenkins said each of those games (region) had the possibility to be close, similar to others they have played this season.
Recognized from Whitmire were Devin Vo as Offensive Player of the Month, Colton Evans as Defensive Player of the Month and Chase McCarley as Special Team Player of the Month.
Mid-Carolina High School scheduled their season to get ready for what they thought would be a really good region football schedule, Coach Louie Alexander said.
Sitting at 0-5 this season, Alexander said their team was beat up, but many of their secondary guys were getting a lot of experience in the process.
“In the process of the bad, we’ve really gotten better,” Alexander said. “Once we get everybody back and healthy, we think we’ll still be okay.”
Cade Ruff was recognized as Offensive Player of the Month with Iyon Thompson named Defensive Player of the Month for Mid-Carolina High School. BJ Tobe was recognized as Special Team Player of the Month.
With a record of 2-2 this season – a win, loss, win, loss in that order — Coach Phil Strickland said he assumed Newberry High School was supposed to win this week to keep the record going.
Strickland said the team went to Ninety Six, coming out with a victory, followed by a loss to Batesburg-Leesville.
“We showed up on a Saturday and didn’t play very well and spotted them a few points,” Strickland said of the Batesburg-Leesville contest. “The kids were resilient and had a chance to come back. I feel like it was one of those games that got away from us and we should have won.”
Playing against Chapin, Strickland said he thought the team played well, with their men understanding the game and what they were supposed to do.
“We’ve got a lot of young players that just don’t know what to do yet,” Strickland said.
The Bulldogs played Fairfield Central at Newberry College, Strickland said, getting beat by a “fine Fairfield team.”
“I thought our defense, other than a few blown assignments, played well,” Strickland said. “Offensively, we didn’t play well. I hope we’ll do better this week.”
Offensive Player of the Month for Newberry High School was given to Parker Kinard, with Defensive Player of the Month going to Wilshaud Johnson. Collin Springer was named Special Team Player of the Month.
After starting off their season a little rocky, Todd Knight, head coach for Newberry College, said they have come a long way since their first ballgame and are sitting at 3-1 this season.
The Wolves’ first game left them with six turnovers against Florida Tech, however Knight said he gave the young men credit, handling the adversity of those turnovers really well.
In their second week, Knight said they hung 42 over Virginia Union and played really good football over North Greenville the following week. Travelling to Greenville, Tenn., to play Tusculum, the Wolves won their first conference game by four touchdowns, Knight said.
Speaking of their game in Tennessee, Knight said he was proud of his team and the compassion they showed one little girl in particular. The night before the game in a local restaurant, Knight said a gentleman approached the team for his granddaughter, who he said was a huge football fan and was interested in meeting the team.
Knight said Gracie, the young girl, was 10 years old and had cerebral palsy. After sitting down and talking with the young girl, Knight said they invited her and her family to the football game the next day and had tickets waiting on her. Following the game, the team took a photo with her.
“She was a football fan before that game, but now she’s a Newberry Wolves fan,” Knight said. “She’s wearing a Newberry football T-shirt right now, I bet you.”
Raleigh Yeldell was recognized as the Offensive Player of the Month and Joe Blue as Defensive Player of the Month. Shea Rodgers was recognized as Special Team Player of the Month.
Emcee Jimmie Coggins announced the players of the month from Newberry Academy. Bryce Horn was named Offensive and Special Team Player of the Month. Hunter Taylor was named both Offensive and Defensive Player of the Month and Jimmy Franklin was also named Offensive Player of the Month from Newberry Academy.
In other business, Coggins announced that the Newberry County Touchdown Club will meet Oct. 24 at Henry Hall at Central United Methodist Church.