Story by Kamarri Darrington | Central Alabama Scoreboard
Photos by Brian Tannehill | Directory of Photography
WETUMPKA–Wetumpka head coach Bear Woods came onto the field at the Wetumpka Sports Complex to the tune of “Bear! Bear! Bear!” from the always boisterous Wetumpka student section.
Woods, who spent 10 seasons in the Canadian Football League and won a Grey Cup in 2017, took the field for his head coaching debut against Jeff Davis.
The Indians started off slow, but matched the intensity of their coach and their opponents from Montgomery.
Wetumpka’s defense forced four turnovers and didn’t allow an offensive point in the Indians’ 27-10 win over Jeff Davis in Friday’s season opener.
“We really dominated the first half if you look at what we accomplished,” Woods said. “What I wanted more than anything is for the intensity to be felt here. We’ve got to learn the self-control part of it, but we’ve got to learn to play with an edge.”
Wetumpka quarterback Nate Rogers only completed two passes, but his 25-yard strike to Quashawn Wright set up a 10-yard touchdown run to give the Indians the lead for good.
The Indians got interceptions from James Ball, Tristan Bennett and Justin Crumbaugh.
Crumbaugh, who also finished with 16 tackles and a fumble recovery, capped off the evening with a 50-yard interception return touchdown with 31 seconds remaining.
“How fitting for our middle linebacker and leader to finish off the game tonight for a former middle linebacker,” Woods said. “Justin is a great leader and works hard. It was great to see him make the last play.”
The Wetumpka offense started the scoring as Michael Dilliard scored on a 1-yard run to give Wetumpka a 7-0 lead. He finished the first half with a bruising 7-yard scoring run to push the Indians’ lead to 20-10 going into halftime.
Jeff Davis took away Wetumpka’s early momentum with two plays within a 20-second span.
After a snap over the punter’s head gave the Volunteers a safety, DJ Harris took the ensuing free kick 60 yards for a touchdown to give Jeff Davis the lead at 10-7 with 3:06 to play in the first quarter.
“That free kick was just one of those things where it’s not something we practiced a lot on,” Woods said. “We’ll get that corrected. I wanted to see if our guys could respond. That was a big test for us.”
Following the final whistle Friday, Woods tried to use his skills as a middle linebacker to avoid the Gatorade bath but the team was able to douse its victorious coach with the red liquid.
Wetumpka is seeking its 10th consecutive playoff appearance, but there are a lot of firsts left for the new Bear in town.
“We’re going to enjoy this now and just move on,” Woods said. “We want to change the identity at Wetumpka and this was a good start. I wanted our fans to wait until (tonight) to see what kind of product we have on that field, and now they see it.”
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