WEATHER THE STORM: Delta Charter comes together, shocks teams with performances
Published 12:05 am Tuesday, November 3, 2015
FERRIDAY — After enduring a four-game losing streak, the Delta Charter football team took the field Monday in full pads, but the Storm didn’t practice.
Delta Charter head coach Jarrett Hoffpauir pulled up a chair and sat down and invited his team to voice their concerns.
“Some guys were getting frustrated with losing, and that’s understandable,” Hoffpauir said. “I said, ‘Now is the time to express whatever you need to express.’ We had some guys step up, and they talked about people not showing up and being a family.”
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Prior to the meeting, the Storm were getting rocked on and off the field, as multiple players quit the team while others played for the individual instead of the team.
“We were playing for ourselves, and we just had to come together as one,” sophomore running back Jalen Williams said.
The chat at practice went longer than Hoffpauir expected, but he’ll tell you today — the time was well spent. Veterans called out other members of the team, and they told the coaching staff they wanted more contact at practice — something that’s been a challenge with roughly 18 players on the roster.
“They wanted more contact at practice, and some other things, and we started working that stuff in,” Hoffpauir said. “After that talk, we took our pads off and played flag football. I told them, ‘We’re going to do more things that bring us together as family.’”
The extra time spent together has been beneficial, Delta Charter wide receiver Dawson Woodruff said.
“Since then, we’ve been working as a team, and everybody has been playing together better,” he said. “We’ve been having a lot of fight.”
That fight showed in the Storm’s upcoming game that week, a showdown against Tensas High School. Tensas took a 34-6 lead into halftime, but the Storm battled back into the fight in the second half, erasing the lead in the second half and ultimately falling 46-30.
“Honestly, I thought most of us were going to lay down in the second half, but then we came back,” Woodruff said. “It was a surprise.”
Williams said they weren’t the only ones surprised by the comeback.
“We shocked a lot of people, including the other team,” Williams said. “They started laying down (in the second half).”
The numbers game — one that’s been cruel to a team that is absent of seniors — opened the door for a 48-0 loss to Delhi the ensuing week. Hoffpauir acknowledged his team wasn’t ready to face a surging Delhi Charter squad.
“Delhi was just too much for us,” Hoffpauir said.
But the following week brought a new rival in Sicily Island to town, and the Storm erased their six-game losing streak with a 28-6 win against the Tigers. Getting that “winning feeling” again was crucial for Hoffpauir to keep his team’s spirits high.
“Of course, nobody likes to lose,” Hoffpauir said. “You see teams like Cathedral and ACCS and the success they’ve had, the guys see that. Everybody wants to win, but it was a very trying time for our coaching staff. We didn’t know what to do. We have to win at some point. Winning solves all problems.”
Following a win against Sicily Island, Delta Charter was expected to be engulfed by a 6-3 Delhi squad. Delhi led 20-6 at halftime, but following the break, Williams and quarterback Trey Poole led the Storm to 18 unanswered points to give Delta Charter a 24-20 lead. The upset fell short, as the Bears took a 26-24 lead with a minute left to go and Delhi pulled away with a 32-24 victory.
“After Delhi, we had some guys in tears,” Hoffpauir said. “I was excited after. I hate losing, but the effort those guys gave — look I’m talking, we were dragging people off of the field every other play and two plays later they’d be right back in there — we were spent. I’ve had four or five coaches tell me how hard we play, and we take pride in that.”
With a 2-7 record, Delta Charter’s first varsity season will come to an end in a road contest against Beekman Charter Friday.