The Wolfpack led 8-0 against Pace Academy in its season opener last week, but the Knights came back to spoil Whitefield’s chance at a victory.
“It was a disappointing opening loss to a good Pace football team,” Whitefield coach Jimmy Fields said. “We felt like we learned a lot from the film and a lot from ourselves. We’re eager to get back on the field and see what we can do.”
However, the Wolfpack will be playing against largely an unknown tonight when they take on Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville.
Riverside hasn’t played so much as a scrimmage game this season, and has a new coach in Gary Downs. The boarding school sees players transfer in and out of school from year to year.
“Very little,” said Fields of what he knows about his opponent. “I do know coach Gary Downs. I’ve known for quite some time. He was an assistant at Riverside years ago. I knew him out there and knew him when was an assistant at Mount Pisgah most recently.
“I know he’s a fine football coach and a great man. Obviously, this is a new coach, new offense and new defense. Plus, they haven’t scrimmaged. They haven’t played in an opening game. That’s some concern, and that limits your preparation. You’d better prepare for a little of everything to make sure you have a plan for several things. Most importantly, it’s still so early in the year that our concentration in practice has been a lot on correcting our own errors and taking care of Whitefield.”
For the Wolfpack, that means taking care of business before the snap and making sure to use what they have learned during the week.
“A lot of alignments and assignments,” said Fields on what needed correcting most. “We can look it, and on the film, you learn so much just by seeing yourself on film and seeing not just alignment, but assignments carried out in the wrong fashion. Coaches learn, too, and there are a lot of things as a coach that I learned.
“There were things I could have done a lot better to help put them in a better position. Obviously, anyone who saw the game last week knows we had a lot of opportunities, a lot of drives. On defense, we gave up a couple of big plays after having them stopped. We did a great job of controlling the ball offensively. We had about 28 minutes on time of possession going back and breaking that down. But penalties, in the end, stopped some key drives in the third and fourth quarter. But we just need to overcome that.”