Wes-Del football was on the cusp of its first win of the 2023-24 campaign as they led Greenwood Christian Academy 26-22 with 3:56 left in the fourth quarter.
But after multiple missed tackles by the Warriors, Cougars’ starting quarterback sophomore Trey Dobson gave his team the lead with a touchdown run. This score would go on to be the dagger as the Warriors fell 29-26.
“This hurts because [the players] know what it could have been,” Wes-Del head coach Matt Nuckols said. “They know we're one or two plays away from this [outcome] being different”
The first play of the game would not go as the Warriors (0-3) planned when the ball was fumbled and recovered by the Cougars (1-3). This would become a theme in the game as both teams had multiple fumbles.
Part of the reason the ball was loose was due to the physicality of both teams.
“We've been proud of being the more physical team,” Nuckols said. “I know the scoreboard didn't show it but we were definitely the more physical team tonight."
The first half was full of Wes-Del highlights. One of the best plays happened when senior Abdullah Abdulameer made a catch over the defender’s head. After securing the ball, he was able to make it to the endzone for a touchdown.
But another set of highlights came from sophomore Brock Nauman. He ended the contest with two rushing touchdowns and scored on a successful two-point conversion. Being a younger player, Nauman wants to see his team and school get more significant in the future.
“I remember in elementary school, nobody really thought of [Wes-Del] as a big school,” he said. We're trying to build that up.”
Nuckols believes that seeing Nauman step up will inspire other underclassmen to take on more roles during the season.
“Brock is a beast,” he said. “He's put on about 30 pounds since last summer. He buys into the weight room and he’s a true program guy because he believes and he works his butt off.”
But after a solid first half where the Warriors scored 18 points, the second half was completely different as they only scored eight. Part of the difference was due to multiple players getting a case of the cramps.
“If you know [what’s wrong], let me know,” Nuckols said, shaking his head. “Our trainers have been trying everything. We’ve gotten guys on different meal plans, hydration packets, we got some dudes doing some different supplements, stretching free stuff and we still haven't found an answer yet.”
But to a team like Wes-Del, these injuries hit hard.
“When you're in a small school like this and you have a dude like [senior] Trey Adams, [senior] Triton Blevins, or [junior] Jonah Whitworth go down for two or three plays in a quarter, it makes a big difference.”
The Warriors are still winless on the season, but the team believes that things are changing for the better.
“Coach is making a big impact,” Blevins said. “We just push through stuff and we just get better every day.”
Some of the positive notes were that the Warriors scored 26 points, which is twelve more than they did in the entire 2022-23 season. But there was one more thing. The players were disappointed with the result.
“I think the first thing we talked about [in the post-game huddle] was that we got guys that are starting to care,” Nuckols said. “...In the past, that hasn't always been the case. But you can see it on their faces [tonight].”
The Warriors will try to hit the win column next week as they travel to face Southern Wells (1-2).
In other games around the county, Delta (3-0) defeated Shelbyville (2-1) 21-14, Yorktown (2-1) fell to New Palestine (1-2) 30-22 and Muncie Central (0-3) was defeated by 34-7 McCutcheon (1-2).
Contact Zach Carter with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on X@ZachCarter85.