Today a lot of you may be thinking to yourselves, “When will this summer heat ever end?” or “I don’t know how much more of this heat I can take.” However, if you drive through the WSHS campus this afternoon, you will see a sign that the end of the summer is nearing. You will see the boys of fall, the WSHS Tiger football team, back on the practice field, as the kickoff of their season is less than a month away.
The Tigers are coming off a successful season last year, the best one for the program in quite some time. They wrapped up the regular season with an 8-2 record, making it to the second round of the playoffs. A big part of their season of success was a huge senior class of about 20 players, so there is a good bit of pressure on the upcoming senior class to keep the momentum going.
“The class of ’23 was amazing, and there’s a lot to replace this year,” said WSHS head coach Jay Watson when asked about last year’s seniors. “But the class of ’24 is a great group of guys as well. They played good JV ball the past couple of years and looked good against other kids their own age. I think they’re capable of playing good football under the bright lights on Friday nights as well. I’ve also been really impressed with their leadership, the way that they’ve stepped up this offseason. They’ve exceeded my expectations in that area for sure.”
The Tigers will open with two games away from home, at Pineville on Sept. 1, and at Caldwell on Sept. 8. The home opener will not be until the third game of the season, on Sept. 15 against Cedar Creek. They will play three consecutive games at home after that, against Jena on Sept. 22, Bunkie on Sept. 29, and Lakeview on Oct. 6. Then they will go back on the road for three straight, at Many on Oct. 13, at Red River on Oct. 20, and at Mansfield on Oct. 27. Finally, the Tigers will return home on Nov. 3 to finish the regular season with a battle against longtime rival Jonesboro-Hodge.
Even though the kickoff of the regular season is in September, fans will get to see the Tigers in a little bit of preseason action in August. They will play in a three-way scrimmage with Grant and St. Mary’s on Aug. 18, and their jamboree will be the following week at West Ouachita on Aug. 25.
Part 2 of the season preview will be published in next week’s edition of the Journal, and it will go into more detail on specific players at each position, and the coaching staff as well.