Warriors Football 2006: A Spectacular Season in Review…
Warriors Football 2006: A Spectacular Season in Review…
By Denton Ramsey / Sports Editor
Although the South Grand Prairie Warriors football team ended their season earlier than they wanted to, at least they did it with style.
The Warriors, 10-2 overall on the 2006 season, were a surprise for many.
After losing almost every starter in every aspect of the game after last season’s success, the Warriors were looking at 2006 as a rebuilding year.
But Warriors head coach David Fisher and his brilliant coaching staff had different plans.
Returning only three starters on offense while building anew on defense and special teams, the Warriors rattled off an impressive 3-0 non-district start to the season before district action began.
Then, the Warriors did the remarkable, going 6-1 in district to secure a postseason spot – their only loss coming against the defending champions of Euless Trinity, a 38-21 setback at the Gopher-Warrior Bowl on Sept. 29.
But after the Trinity loss, the Warriors were almost unstoppable, going 7-0 before eventually falling to Colleyville Heritage, 38-14 at Texas Stadium on Nov. 24.
Looking back at a very successful season, the Warriors should be proud.
From the cheerleaders to the band, from the parents to the coaches, this team came and conquered as a team.
And breaking down each aspect of the game: offense, defense and special teams, it’s easy to see why this year’s Warriors team was so successful.
In the offensive department, senior quarterback Denzel Dewberry did a phenomenal job at the helm.
But he also got some help from his friends.
Along with his two senior co-starter leaders, receiver Trae Johnson and lineman Tray Allen, Dewberry and company kept Warriors’ fans on their feet all season long.
“We had a really good season offensively with only three returning starters, but they were a good three to have,” Fisher said. “Denzel Dewberry, at the quarterback spot, won offensive player of the year for our district, Trae Johnson, at receiver, made first-team all-district and Tray Allen, on the line, also made first-team all-district.”
In addition to three returning star starters on offense, the Warriors youthful talent also came to the forefront as eight new players in eight new spots took the field for the first time.
“We did really well this season, scoring almost 35 points a game with only three starters returning and eight other guys were new,” Fisher said. “We had four new linemen plus all new wide outs and running backs, but they carried us all year, and especially early. In the first three games of the season, we scored up to 50 points, and we had to, because we were playing such offensive teams.”
The Warriors stared off the 2006 season with non-district wins over Plano West and Mansfield Summit on the road before a home field victory over South Garland on Sept. 15.
Their lone defeat came two weeks later after a bye week, when the Warriors lost a bitter battle to Euless Trinity on Sept. 29.
And although South Grand Prairie lost by 17 on paper, 38-21, they played much closer than 17 points all game long – making even the fair-weather Warriors fans rise to their feet in support of their team.
After the Sept. 29 setback, the Warriors rattled off a string of seven straight victories before falling to the Panthers of Colleyville Heritage on Nov. 24 at Texas Stadium.
During their seven game win streak, the Warriors defeated Grand Prairie, Irving, Hurst L.D. Bell, Irving MacArthur, Irving Nimitz, Jesuit and Arlington Bowie.
Defensively, the Warriors did an extraordinary job, especially considering it was a brand new unit of players.
After last season’s success, the Warriors lost all 11 starters on defense – an occurrence unfamiliar to coach Fisher at the time – as South Grand Prairie prepared to rebuild and remold their defense.
“We knew coming into the season that defense was going to be a weakness for us early,” Fisher said. “We lost all 11 starters on defense, and through all the years of coaching I have never lost all 11 defensive starters, but we did and they got better each and every week.”
Each and every snap, each and every practice, and each and every game, the youthful defensive unit at SGP grew and molded into a championship-caliber bunch.
“Even being able to go 3-0 against a non-district schedule was incredible,” Fisher said. “That’s a tough three starts and all against playoff teams – we played some of the best offensive players around when you face the quarterback at Mansfield Summit, who is going to [the University of] Texas, or the quarterback at Irving MacArthur, who can go anywhere in the nation. And to battle past those guys and to win 10 games was just incredible and says a lot about our young defense.”
In the special teams department, the Warriors’ Carson Wiggs led the charge with his kicking and punting power.
Wiggs nailed two game-winners in 2006, clinching victories for SGP at the sound of the horn, as the special teams unit proved to be a solid part of the football team.
“Again, we lost everybody in special teams after last year, but that was a bright spot for us this season,” Fisher said. “Carson Wiggs did great for us – he punted for a really good average and kicked great for us all year – he won all-district punter and kicker for both positions.”
In addition to Wiggs’ leg lifting the Warriors to numerous victories, the entire special teams unit really bonded this year with a new group of players.
“Overall in special teams, I am really proud of our guys,” Fisher said. “Losing most of those guys [last year], we really did a good job as a new unit and the coaching staff there did a tremendous job as well.”
And the future for special teams at SGP?
“Looking ahead to next year, we lose a lot of the cover guys,” Fisher said. “But we have our kicker back, and he’s a great one to have back.”
Sports Editor Denton Ramsey can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org