Last season, the Woodlawn Knights had one of the best offensive seasons in school history, rolling up 363 points in the 10-game regular season. The Knights finished 6-4 and qualified for the state Class 4A playoffs for the fourth straight year, only to once again drop their first-round game on the road.
You might think that the offseason emphasis for Woodlawn would be improving a defense that faltered late in a few key games a year ago.
Not necessarily so, says fourth-year head coach Jerwin Wilson.
“Sure, we’ve made adjustments on the defensive side of the ball, as we always will,” said Wilson, who sports a 15-18 record in three years at Woodlawn. “But we scored over 35 points a game last year and our goal is to score 45 a game this year. We’re an offensive team, first and foremost, and we’re going to do what we do.”
What the Knights do – and do it well – is run the football from their hybrid spread offense. Junior sensation Trivensky Mosley led the city with more than 1,400 yards rushing and 154 points on 24 touchdowns.
“Trivensky is a great athlete and great football player,” said Wilson. “He’s worked hard this offseason. I think he’ll be better this year than he was last year when he was the best back in the city.”
Added to Mosley’s production this season will be transfer student Larry Moton, one of the most dynamic athletes in the area at Huntington last year.
“Larry is going to give us some added speed on the outside,” said Wilson. “He has played several positions, among them quarterback, but we’re going to line him up at receiver. He’s an experienced athlete and gives us a big playmaker on the outside.”
Mosley and Moton will make the offense run, but it will be the quarterback tandem of Kentrez Roby and Josh Mosley that steer that ship. Each are good athletes, with Roby the better passer while Josh Mosley relies on his legs more.
“They’re both very capable guys with similar skills,” said Wilson. “Roby is more of a pocket passer, while Josh is more of a dual threat. We feel very good with either of them in the game.”
Defensively, coordinator Derwin Wilson, Jerwin’s twin brother, will once again have a host of top-notch defensive backs, but Jerwin Wilson says that stopping the run was the main focus of the adjustments the team made on that side of the football.
“We’ve got three very good players in our secondary in Corey Bell, Ladarren Kennedy, and Josh Dykes,” said Wilson. “We’ll be able to play the pass very well like we’ve done in the past. Our focus has been on switching up the fronts and playing more four-man lines than we have. We need to do a better job of playing the run, and we think we’ve done some things to improve in that area.”
The Knights went through a spirited practice Wednesday, the first day of contact drills, with legendary local coach Husher Calhoun – a spry 63 years of age – jokingly begging his defensive players at one point to perform or he would be out of a job.
“Coach Calhoun is the best,” said a beaming Wilson. “He was the first coach I called when I got this job, and I told him I needed him. He’s always bringing the energy and passion to our team, and I don’t know what I’d do without him. I told him that when he hangs ‘em up, I’m going with him.”
Woodlawn opens Sept. 2 with a trip to Rayville, a school it blew out 64-26 to open the 2015 season. Wilson says his Knights are looking to this year’s opener as an opportunity to get a good start out of the gate and build momentum heading up to the District 1-4A opener against Northwood.
“We have to get off on the right foot,” said Wilson. “How we start will dictate a lot about how our season goes. We didn’t finish some games last year, and we have to do that this year. We have an opportunity here. We’ve been building this program for the last three years and have gotten to a point where we think we can compete with anyone. We have made the playoffs, but we haven’t had success in them. We want to take that next step – win district, win a playoff game, and compete on a state level. We’ve knocked on the door. Now’s our opportunity to kick it in.”
Coach: Jerwin Wilson, 15-18 in three seasons.
2015 record: 6-5 overall; 4-3 District 1-4A; Playoffs first round.
Key Game: Sept. 2 at Rayville.
Woodlawn rolled Rayville to open last season 64-26. The Knights need another quick start to the season to prepare them for another tough district race.
Players to Watch: RB Trivensky Mosley; WR/Ath Larry Moton; QB Kentrez Roby; QB Josh Mosley; Ath Corey Williams; DB Corey Bell; DB Ladarren Kennedy; DB Josh Dykes
Starters returning: Offense – 5; Defense – 6.
Quotable: “… we scored over 35 points a game last year and our goal is to score 45 a game this year. We’re an offensive team, first and foremost, and we’re going to do what we do.”
2016 Woodlawn schedule
Sept. 2 at Rayville
Sept. 9 BTW (LH)
Sept. 16 at Haughton
Sept. 23 at Northwood
Sept. 29 Bossier (I)
Oct. 7 North DeSoto (I)
Oct. 13 at Huntington (I)
Oct. 21 Benton (I)
Oct. 27 at Fair Park (I)
Nov. 4 Minden (I)
Rayville W 64-26
BTW W 38-10
Haughton L 30-43
Northwood W 51-31
Bossier W 44-21
North DeSoto L 16-26
Huntington W 40-24
Benton L 30-34
Fair Park W 36-12
Minden L 14-20
McDonogh #35 L 6-26