Walker (8-0, 4-0) brings a school-record eight-game winning streak into tonight’s game at Mount Paran Christian. The Wolverines sit atop the Region 6A (B) standings and will be the No. 1 seed for next week’s region championship game.
But Walker has never beaten the Eagles.
One of those two streaks will end tonight.
While it is true the teams have only met twice, Mount Paran (2-6, 2-2) has the advantage in the series. But that won’t mean anything when they kick off tonight.
“As I keep saying all year long, our No.1 goal is to win the next game,” Walker coach John East said. “No matter who it is. We are just going to take them one at a time and try to get to 9-0. That’s our game plan.”
Much of Walker’s current success can be attributed to the foundation that was build for the program under former-coach Ben Williamson, who guided the team from 2008-11. While the Wolverines won just nine games in that stretch, Mount Paran coach Mitch Jordan said the other coaches in the region noticed the on-field changes.
“They were just missing (two) things — success and confidence,” Jordan said. “Coach East has done a good job taking what was there (and giving them those missing ingredients).”
Jordan said that, in his opinion, the Wolverines returned the best crop of talent in the region.
His team, however, isn’t going to go quietly.
“The kids are upbeat despite our record,” Jordan said. “They buy into what we are doing here and they know that if the ball bounces our way a couple games, our record would be different. So, they are excited about playing these last two games.”
The Eagles will play the No. 1 team in their sub-region tonight, and will likely face the top team from the other half of the region, Darlington, next week in the crossover.
With the exception of the season opener against Our Lady of Mercy, the Eagles have been in every game. Jordan does not expect things to be any different against Walker.
“There is just a fine line between winning and losing,” he said. “We still have enough talent to win these last two ball games. We just need to play Mount Paran football.”
At Walker, the players are taking pride in their school-record number of wins and have talked about it each week. However, they are careful to keep their emotions in check.
“Mount Paran is certainly nearby in location, and a lot of kids know each other, and it is a rival,” East said. “I know that the kids will talk during the week — before and after the game — and I think it adds somewhat to the pressure.
“You know you will see that guy again. You may see him at church or a friend’s house. So, with Mount Paran and Walker you are going to have some of that and that certainly adds another emotional notch to the belt.”