Jake McCoy works on defense at practice during a Round 1 playoff practice. (Daily Home)
ALPINE - Jake McCoy and Taylor Garrett have quietly made a huge impact for the Winterboro Bulldogs this season.
Both players have made game changing plays to help the Bulldogs finish the season 9-1 and host a first round playoff game Friday against Kinston.
McCoy led Winterboro’s defense last week with a 12-tackle performance in a loss to Vincent. That was McCoy’s fifth double-digit tackle performance of the season, which leads the team.
“A lot of times you just have to go out there and make plays,” McCoy said. “The big things the coaches talk to us about is that you can’t wait for someone to make a play. Everybody is going to have to step up and try to get it. A lot of times my success at linebacker depends on my three techniques (tackle, noise guard). If he is down their busting his butt I tend to get a lot more tackles because they are double teaming him.”
McCoy is tied for second on the team with 81 tackles with Curtavious Gray. Fossett said McCoy isn’t the fastest player on the team, but he is always involved in making plays on defense.”
“He is making a ton of plays for us,” Fossett said. “He kind of turns up in plays when you don’t expect him to be there or you don’t think he will be there, but they unstack the pile he is at the bottom of it. He is not the fastest kid in the world, but he covers a lot of ground in game mode and does a good job for us doing that. He soaks up everything that we tell him from week to week. He knows the opponents game plans and he beats them to the punch most of the time, so that helps him out.”
McCoy and the Bulldogs offensive line have made it possible for their offense to gain 3,742 yards from scrimmage this season. In their lone loss of the season last week to Vincent, McCoy felt like they loss the battle in the trenches.
“Our offensive line has really stepped up this year,” McCoy said. “We were the question mark coming into the season and we knew that. We came out and busted our butts almost every game, the only game that we didn’t we lost. We have to step up, we got confused that game and it didn’t work good for us. We are planning on coming out like the first week; it is the first week of this season. We are going to have to bust our butts and get after them.”
Garrett also plays a huge role in the success of the offense. The first year quarterback has made opposing defenses pay for loading the box with his aerial attack. The junior signal caller passed for 713 yards and seven touchdowns while completing 52 percent of his passes on the season.
“Taylor brings a lot to the table as far as leadership,” Fossett said. “He calls the play offensively and he runs the plays. We depend on him a ton. We have two guys that have racked up a lot of yards, but they wouldn’t be able to do that without him taking the snap from center, making the play happen and getting the play started. He also plays free safety. He gets our defense lined up and he makes sure they are in the right spot. He is pretty much the field general on offense and defense. He does a good job for us on offense and defense. He has come through for us this season and he has done well for us.”
This season the Bulldogs have rushed for 3,029 yards and scored 41 touchdowns. Garrett said when teams try to stop their running game he has to make the right reads to keep the offense moving.
“We have to do a lot of changing plays like calling hot routs, so we get the ball out faster and have quicker routs,” Garrett said.
The Bulldogs will host Kinston Friday. McCoy feels like their crowd is their 12th man.
“Being at home is huge,” McCoy said. “Just having support from your fans is huge. I think it helped us out in key games such as St.Jude. They helped us out at times where we needed to come through.”
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