Walker set to keep rolling
by William Bretherton
wbretherton@mdjonline.com
October 12, 2012 12:03 AM | 1821 views | 4 4 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Through the first five games of the season, Walker hasn’t lost a single one.

When the Wolverines travel to Fellowship Christian tonight, they have a chance to win their sixth game, or the total number of wins that the program had combined the last two seasons.

While a victory would make for a landmark accomplishment, Walker would prefer not to even bother thinking about what happen in the school’s past years.

“I don’t worry about anything,” Walker coach John East said. “I just worry about this year. I never talk about last year. If anyone talks about last year, I tell them that they don’t even need to talk about it.”

Still the progress happening in the Wolverines’ program is undeniable. Since the program’s inception in 2001, Walker has never won more than six games in a season. If Walker wins tonight, it will equal the best win total in school history, which has only been done twice — 2005 and ’06.

So, how does a program go from winning no more than three games in one season since 2007 become an undefeated team in just one season?

“It’s a number of things,” East said. “My trademark has always been numbers. I’ve always had numbers. It doesn’t matter if it was football, basketball or lacrosse. I coached soccer one year and we had 14-15 kids, and the next had 40-something tryout.”

Although there are more players on this year’s team, moving from 30 to 53 this year, it requires more than just numbers to create the type of turnaround that the Wolverines have seen in just one season.

“The little things are just about staying positive,” East said. “Kids today, we don’t know what’s going on in their lives. I want them to know that there are a bunch of men that love them. We’re still going to love them 20 years from now.”

East has been in coaching for 38 years, though he has not been a head coach in Georgia until this season. Still, through all of his travails as a coach and an athletic director, he has found that more important than the numbers is the attitude of a team.

“I have this saying, ‘Act like you want to be here,’” East said. “‘And if you don’t want to be here, fake it.’ What happens is, because some kids play football because they feel like they have to, I want them to get to the point to where they want to be here. And now, we have kids that want to be here. They can’t wait to get to practice now.”

So, how within one summer and the first few games of the season does a coach know that his players want to come to practice, want to play and, most of all, want to win? It’s simple. He just looks to see if they are enjoying what they do.

“The answer is, because it’s fun,” East said. “The captains are supposed to tell me that it’s not fun if they are not having fun. But they have told me that they are having a blast. If it’s not fun, then you’re not going to have numbers.”

“But fun doesn’t mean you go out and fool around. Fun to me is driving a sled with the offensive line, then giving them a water break. They’re so tired that they have to crawl to the water. The whole point of that is: Will they help each other out?

And so, in small examples like picking each other up during difficult practices, he’s seeing players that want to be there. On game days, he’s seeing a team that wants to compete.

As a result, the fans and the Walker community is finally getting to see a team that wins.
Comments
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PlayerSomeday
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October 13, 2012
It's hard to believe that teams are just wanted to be forgotten about in the past two years. Coach Williumson was a man that worked his rear end off to create men that were actually fit for battle and have the mental toughness to maybe sometimes look down on practice but at the end of the day, they new they had a brother next to them that could fight through just as hard things. Coach East is a great man that obviously has brought results to the program, however, the man is given too much credit and gives himself to much credit. From ears inside, half of the new team mates that desired to come out this year had decided to come out before a head coach was hired. The success of this team has not been numbers but the lack of difficulty in schedule and the athletic ability of these seniors who had fought through adversity. I am personally glad to see walker doing well but in my eyes The Walker School has seem to teach their kids to love supporting when it's easy or as some call it sunshine fans. Where was this "pride" and "best school" when the football or other teams having a hard time needed them. So all together I want to congratulate walker on taking advantage of this weak schedule and hope they are ready for the darlingtons and other teams they will face in the playoffs. I wonder what headlines will read also after leading rusher, duke commit, and other 4 year varsity players are gone. Just wondering...
Wolverines9-0
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November 08, 2012
Obviously you are entitled to your opinion, but there are a few things I want to inject. Firstly, Coach East has not been giving himself too much credit. If you heard his after game huddle speeches you would hear that he always credits the players and the fans that support them for the wins. If anyone gives him too much credit it is the media, and he has no control over that. Secondly, Walker has always had pride. As a small school it is easy for Walker to come together in support. For example, last year even though the team was not very successful everyone came to support it as we rallied behind Scott Shockly, an ex football player who got cancer. We always support the team, it just has gone unnoticed in previous years because the team was not as successful. Lastly, you mentioned a "weak schedule". This year Walker has secured victories against Mt. Zion, Whitefield, and Mt. Paran, all teams that are respected and generally do fairly well, Mt Paran being a team Walker has never beaten in football until now. If that doesn't convince you that the schedule is not weak, look at the power rankings which are established based on the difficulty of the schedule and success against harder teams, and you'll find that Walker is 7th in Division A out of more than 24 teams. And after the seniors leave who knows what will happen, maybe new seniors will step it up, maybe walker will go back to being 3-7. But whatever happens this year will always be in Walker history as the year that we had a perfect 9-0 regular season and broke more football records than we ever have before, as well as being awarded high five team of the week and being featured as game of the week on TV. This was Walker's fairy tale season, and no one can down grade that.

10-0
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November 09, 2012
Wanted to correct wolverines. Walker is now 10-0 after beating Gordon Lee for the region championship.
PlayerSomeday
|
October 13, 2012
It's hard to believe that teams are just wanted to be forgotten about in the past two years. Coach Williumson was a man that worked his rear end off to create men that were actually fit for battle and have the mental toughness to maybe sometimes look down on practice but at the end of the day, they new they had a brother next to them that could fight through just as hard things. Coach East is a great man that obviously has brought results to the program, however, the man is given too much credit and gives himself to much credit. From ears inside, half of the new team mates that desired to come out this year had decided to come out before a head coach was hired. The success of this team has not been numbers but the lack of difficulty in schedule and the athletic ability of these seniors who had fought through adversity. I am personally glad to see walker doing well but in my eyes The Walker School has seem to teach their kids to love supporting when it's easy or as some call it sunshine fans. Where was this "pride" and "best school" when the football or other teams having a hard time needed them. So all together I want to congratulate walker on taking advantage of this weak schedule and hope they are ready for the darlingtons and other teams they will face in the playoffs. I wonder what headlines will read also after leading rusher, duke commit, and other 4 year varsity players are gone. Just wondering...
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