WEST JEFFERSON — A young West Caldwell team hungry for its first taste of playoff action in 11 years will make the trip to Ashe County High School on Friday night to face off with the Huskies, a team very familiar with getting to play past the regular season.
This is West Caldwell’s first playoff appearance since the 2004 season when they were a member of the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference. The Warriors traveled to Charlotte Catholic that season and were handed a 35-6 defeat.
Times have certainly changed as the Warriors are no longer MVAC members and Charlotte Catholic has jumped from 2A all the way up to a 4A school now.
The 2015 Warriors have just nine seniors and are heading in the right direction under head coach Chip English, who was a standout junior varsity head coach at A.L. Brown in Kannapolis, losing only four games in three seasons. This is English’s second year leading West Caldwell.
This was the first season since 2002 where the Warriors finished with a winning regular season record. West Caldwell enters Friday’s game with a 6-5 overall record and a 4-3 mark in the Southern District 7 Athletic Conference. 2002 was also the last year the Warriors won a playoff game as they knocked off West Henderson at home (13-10) before falling the following week at home against Pisgah (14-7).
West Caldwell is led by senior running back Trustin Harper. The 5-9, 190-pounder has rushed for 1,185 yards and 10 touchdowns. Harper has also had a role in the passing game, catching 10 balls for 315 yards and four touchdowns, including a 94-yard touchdown catch and run earlier in the season.
Junior quarterback Titus Tucker has shown to be a dual threat weapon out of the backfield. He has completed 52-of-97 passes for 1,016 yards and 12 touchdowns while throwing only two interceptions. On the ground, Tucker has tallied 288 yards and two touchdowns.
When the Warriors draw up a pass play, look for sophomore Elijah Brooks to be involved. He leads the team with 17 catches for 321 yards and has caught three touchdown passes. Senior Dashawn Francis is another weapon for Tucker through the air. He has 17 grabs for 245 yards and is the team’s leading kickoff and punt return specialist.
Defensively, junior Tykise Davidson has had an outstanding year with 105 tackles and two fumble recoveries. Defensive end Vada Perkins has sacked the quarterback seven times this season to go along with 56 tackles.
Overall, the Warriors have intercepted 12 passes this season, led by the quarterback Titus Tucker with four and leading receiver Elijah Brooks with three, showing off the athletic capabilities that this team has.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Ashe County High School.
Kickoff forecast: Partly cloudy, 43 degrees
- Ashe County and West Caldwell are deadlocked with four wins apiece against each other.
- West Caldwell was 4-0 against Ashe when both teams were in the MVAC.
- A win for Ashe guarantees a winning record for the third straight season under head coach Brian Hampton.
- The Huskies are hoping to win a playoff game for the second straight season.
- West Caldwell won four games last season. The team won just once game from 2011-2013
- Over the last 10 years, the Warriors have just 19 wins to go with 82 losses.
Other area games:
South Robeson at East Wilkes
East Burke at Forest Hills
Morganton-Patton at Freedom
North Surry at Maiden
Forbush at Monroe
Providence Grove at Mountain Heritage
Union Academy at North Stokes
Alleghany at Rosman
West Wilkes at Shelby
High Point Central at South Caldwell
Starmount at Swain County
Southwest Guilford at Watauga
Parkwood at West Stokes
Mount Airy at Whiteville
Newton-Conover at Wilkes Central
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-846-7164 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87