Waccamaw football taking new approach in hopes of improving results

For The Sun NewsAugust 13, 2013 

Waccamaw Green Sea Floyds Football

Jalen Simmons, 23, will shift to quarterback in an effort by his coach to avoid injury in his senior season.

CHARLES SLATE — cslate@thesunnews.com Buy Photo

  • The scoop

    Coach | Tyronne Davis (8-24 in three seasons at Waccamaw and 15-38 in five seasons overall)

    Last Year | 3-8, 0-5 Region VIII-AA, lost in first round of playoffs

    Returning starters | 7 offensive/8 defense

    Strengths | Waccamaw is never going to have a massive roster loaded with experienced depth. However, what this team does have is a handful of playmakers who should be able to squeeze out an extra win or two from last year. And with four Class A teams on the schedule, the Warriors should be hitting their stride by the time region play begins.

    Weaknesses | Defensive woes have cost this team more than a handful of victories since Davis took over prior to the 2010 season. In the last two year, the Warriors have allowed just shy of 37 and 32 points per game. That figure will have to improve dramatically, especially if the team’s offense doesn’t make a drastic spike.

    Three Players to Watch

    Jalen Simmons, Sr., QB | After rushing for more than 700 yards as a freshman and junior, Simmons is making the move to quarterback. His arm is plenty strong enough, as he also pitches for the Warriors’ baseball team.

    Donovan Syndab, Sr., LB | The 6-foot, 195-pound outside linebacker has the ability to stop the run, but also the speed to cover inside receivers. He’ll be asked to do both.

    Matthew Holtzclaw, Sr., OL | It will be up to the lone senior on this young-but-experienced offensive line to ensure Simmons and a large number of running backs have the protection they need.

  • 2013 schedule

    Date Opponent Time ’12 result
    Aug. 23at North Myrtle Beach7:30 p.m.L, 50-14
    Aug. 30at Green Sea Floyds7:30 p.m.W, 7-0
    Sept. 6vs. Creek Bridge7:30 p.m.W, 22-0
    Sept. 20vs. Hannah-Pamplico7:30 p.m.W, 33-27
    Sept. 27vs. Timmonsville7:30 p.m.L, 50-0
    Oct. 4vs. Mullins7:30 p.m.L, 40-8
    Oct. 11at Loris7:30 p.m.L, 49-0
    Oct. 18at Aynor7:30 p.m.L, 38-21
    Oct. 25vs. Marion7:30 p.m.L, 30-0
    Nov. 1at Dillon7:30 p.m.L, 43-7

  • 2013 roster

    No. Name Pos Ht. Wt. Grade
    1Darnell DaddRB/DB5-813510
    2Jack MonroeQB/DB5-1117512
    3Woodrow TudorRB/DB5-1116512
    4Rob FerraroWR/DB6-019011
    5Walter ReidRB/DB5-916511
    6Stephone FunnyeWR/DB6-117512
    7Jalen SimmonsQB/DB5-716512
    8Elliott ReidRB/LB5-917510
    11Colin FloydTE/LB5-1017010
    14Brian GreeneWR/DB5-514011
    21Shea BurkeWR/DB5-1116511
    22Tyriq GrantRB/DB5-816510
    23Kelton GrantRB/DB5-1018010
    24Kane TravisTE/LB6-017512
    30Donovan SyndabRB/LB6-019512
    44Justin HolmesRB/LB5-1122511
    48Harley TemlinOL/DE5-921511
    50Alex FloydOL/LB5-1019510
    51Bailey KimptonOL/DL5-914011
    52Matthew HoltzclawOL/LB6-223512
    55Tyler DavisOL/DL6-228011
    61Jabbrel DraytonOL/DL5-921010
    62Roger WigfallOL/DL5-917510
    64Robert GreenOL/DL6-122512
    65Luke OdomOL/DL6-325011
    68Naheim SyndabOL/DL6-322511
    72Tra-Moe DraytonOL/DL5-1127511
    74Ethan ChastinOL/DL5-1023010
    75Ian BeckerOL/DL6-128510
    76Jamie CooperOL/DL5-1130011
    80Deandre RichardsonTE/LB6-219012
    88Curtis LawingWR/DB6-017012

Tyronne Davis has searched for a way to protect his top offensive threat the last three seasons.

The fourth-year Waccamaw coach has watched as Jalen Simmons took the team by storm as a freshman, only to suffer torn anterior cruciate ligaments in both knees as a sophomore and junior. The injuries stalled major growth in the program, if only because Simmons has been such a focal point of this offense.

Now, Davis is trying something new.

Simmons, also an accomplished baseball player, is making the move from running back to quarterback in an effort to spur a team that has averaged fewer than 12 points per game in each of the last two seasons.

“He’s a player. By doing this, hopefully he won’t take all those direct hits he’s taken in the past,” Davis said. “He’s fought his way back after two injuries. We’ve got a handful of athletes, but if they go down, we have no one to replace him.

“Jalen gives us that threat back there. He opens up the offense a little more. We’re going to throw more this year than last year.”

With a new offensive coordinator – former Socastee assistant Shannon McAlister – the nowhere-to-go-but-up approach should be able to do just that. But the biggest reason may not be that of Simmons.

The Warriors will also return all five starters from their offensive line. Tackles Luke Odem and Matthew Holtzclaw, guards Jabbrell and Tra-Moe Drayton and center Tyler Davis average 250 pounds across the board, giving Tyrrone Davis his biggest group in the trenches in his time at the school.

They’ll be blocking for a slightly different scheme. Waccamaw will go to a spread-option game that utilizes wing movement in the backfield and Simmons’ ability to sling the ball to the outside.

Davis said the Warriors won’t be throwing 30-40 times a game, but after failed attempts at consistency during his first three seasons, it was time for something new.

It’s the same approach he’s taking defensively. That side of the ball allowed 31.6 points per game in 2012, despite two early season shutouts against smaller schools.

Waccamaw may still be prone to big plays, but it will also try to make a few more of its own.

The Warriors will bring back top returning tackler Donovan Syndab, as well as Deandre Richardson, who transferred in during the middle of last season. Those two and defensive backs Stephon Funnye, Rob Ferraro, Tyriq Grant and Darnell Dadd should add some speed to a defense striving to use fewer two-way players.

Together, they’ll be asked to correct one of the team’s major deficiencies.

“We haven’t been very aggressive at getting turnovers. We’re trying to turn that up a little bit,” Davis said. “We’ve spent a lot of time with our secondary and our linebackers. We were susceptible to the big plays. Those were things we have to improve on.”

Contact IAN GUERIN at ian@ianguerin.com.

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