Beulah football seniors prepared for one last gridiron battle

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, October 31, 2019

BEULAH — The Beulah Bobcats’ (3-6, 1-6) season ends this Friday night against Mackenzie (1-8,1-6) at Bobcat Stadium. It will be the last time Beulah’s 11 seniors- Thomas Clack, Dylan Coleman, Trevor Mapp, Jaden Buffington, Okhari Moore, Chris Person, Quay Johnson, Andruw Coxwell, Kris Warrens, Kain Latham and Billy Wayne Sykes.

“I’m excited,” Moore said. “I hope that we can put on a show for our Bobcats on Friday, play a good game and get a win.”

Many of the seniors said there’s a good chance that the end of Friday’s game will make them emotional. Coleman and Mapp said that they plan on going out to the 50-yard one last time as players to reflect on their high school careers.

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Clack has played at Beulah for six years, Coleman played for eight years, Mapp and Buffington each played for 13 years, Moore played for three years, Johnson played for six years, Coxwell played for three years, Warrens is a first-year transfer from LaGrange High School, Lantham has played at Beulah for three years, Sykes played for Beulah recreation for a few years before playing the last two seasons in high school and Person has played for seven years.

“I’ve been the truth since then,” Person added, making his classmates laugh.

The starting running back left his mark in Beulah’s history books in 2018 as the program’s first athlete with a 1,000-yard rushing season in over 20 years.

Many of the seniors said that their favorite memory of playing at Beulah were their first varsity starts. Coleman got his opportunity in the last game of his sophomore season.

“I was pretty excited,” Coleman said. “I wasn’t nervous, but I was just grateful for the opportunity.”

Other memories among the group, including last season’s win at Southside for Clack, Mapp’s pancake against a former teammate who transferred schools, Buffington’s botched onside kick, Johnson getting a position change and grabbing an interception shortly after, Moore grabbing an interception during homecoming as a senior, Warrens’ blind-sided hit against Dadeville and Latham’s kickoff return hit that sent an opposing player spinning.

There was a consistent theme of humility among the group when discussing their hopes for the future of the program.

“[I hope] that they’re better than us, they make it to playoffs and do what we couldn’t do,” Coxwell said. “It’s not out team anymore, it belongs to them. They have to do better than us, they have to become one. I think we did well. We failed at the beginning of the season trying to be leaders, but then we stepped up later on.”

The Bobcats had their most successful season in over 20 years in 2018, finishing the regular season 8-2 and hosting a playoff game. This season’s sub-.500 follow up was a sobering experience for all of the seniors, but the group remains positive about the future.

“I’m going to agree with Andruw here and say that it was a fluke that we didn’t make [the playoffs],” Sykes said. “We should make it every year and we let everybody down. It’s not going to be a fluke anymore.”

Through the ups, downs, coaching and roster changes the class has witnessed, Beulah’s seniors are confident that the Class of 2020’s leadership, work ethic, smarts and athletic gifts make them memorable in the community.

“They’re going to know that we fought every single game,” Johnson said. “We came out there and we’re always going to put on a show. We’re a highlight team. They’re going to know that we came out to play every game, we went out hard and we fought.”

Friday night’s game kicks off at 8 p.m. EDT.