GASTON, IND - The last few seasons of Wes-Del football have been ones that fans might try to forget. However, in that period of unwanted results, there has been one key factor.
Tonight, that constant piece walked across the track to be recognized along with the other fall athletes who are a part of that group. That “group” is the senior class. For Wes-Del football, their five seniors have seen it all.
And tonight, they saw something else. They saw something positive. The Warriors defeated Union County 34-14, which gives them back-to-back wins for the first time since the 2020-21 season.
After the win, senior Trey Adams walked out of the post-game huddle in tears and hugged fellow senior Abdullah Abdulameer.
“We went out, we did our job, and I’m proud of the guys,” Adams said. “[The back-to-back wins] just shows that there is a culture change. We're trying to flip the program around and I hope it’s opened some eyes.”
After the senior night festivities ended and the crowd prepared for the rain that was on the verge of cutting loose, it was time for the Warriors’ final regular season home game of the year.
On the opening drive, the Warrior defense stalled the Patriot offense and forced the visitors to punt. After some short-run plays and being driven back by a chop block penalty, Wes-Del found some momentum as Adams used good blocking to cut and weave for a 30-yard touchdown run.
After that score, the sky started to cry and rain began to hit the playing field. If the Patriots were wondering about Creedence Clearwater Revival’s song and asking themselves if the Warriors had ever seen the rain, the answer was yes.
“It was pouring down rain all day [on Thursday] and guys wanted to come out on the field,” Wes-Del head coach Matt Nuckols said. “They practiced in helmets, shorts, and no shirts. I told them to embrace this weather and keep that mindset.”
This is when senior Triton Blevins started to find his rhythm. The Warriors’ starting quarterback found senior Corben Price in the end zone for a touchdown pass. In back-to-back plays, Blevins once again made a huge impact.
First, he intercepted a pass by the Patriots, allowing Wes-Del to set up shop at their 27-yard line. A few seconds later, he took off for a 73-yard touchdown run.
“[My plan for tonight] was to tuck the ball and run hard,” Blevins said, chuckling.
He ended the night with two passing touchdowns and one touchdown run. Nuckols said that he “ran like a champion”.
“We added in a little bit of Q Counter last week,” Nuckols said. “We saw it was gonna work out again tonight and we hit it and it was some good stuff.”
Another senior who had a big game was Abdulameer. Being one of Blevins’ favorite targets, he ended with multiple catches and one touchdown catch.
To him, Nuckols has been one of the biggest reasons for the turnaround of the program.
“He's really instilled in us that we have to change the culture and it starts with us,” Abdulameer said.
On the flip side, the Warriors’ second-year head coach believes that his seniors have been the ones who have led the way.
“They put in a lot of work,” he said. “...When you get a lot of skilled players to buy into a shift of hardnose run football, that’s a big deal. But when you have dudes like [these seniors] that can lead it and can get everybody bought in, that's when things start rolling.”
While the change is happening on the gridiron, it’s also happening in the bleachers, the school itself, and the community that surrounds this team.
“I know [support like that] doesn't always happen everywhere, especially in a small school like this that has had the past that it has,” he said. That's really special to us as a coaching staff and just really special to these young men to see that people are buying into what they're doing and they have their back.”
The Warriors will travel to face Cambridge City Lincoln (1-5) on Friday, Oct. 13. The game is set to start at 7 p.m.
Wes-Del will try to do something it hasn’t done in five years. Win three straight games.
“We just have to keep working hard,” Adams said. “We need to continue to believe in ourselves.”
Contact Zach Carter with comments at email@example.com or on X@ZachCarter85.