WILLIAMSTOWN - Williamstown will concentrate on Williamstown and let the rest take care of itself.
On Friday night, the Yellowjackets play host to a Tyler Consolidated program which has a new coach who also doubles as the school's athletic director. Ryan Walton replaces Rob Caldwell, who guided the Silver Knights for the past nine seasons.
Last year in Kidwell, Williamstown defeated Tyler Consolidated, 53-19. Yellowjacket coach Terry Smith has never lost to the Silver Knights in eight previous meetings.
KERRY PATRICK Special to The Times
Williamstown head football coach Terry Smith adjusts his sunglasses during a practice drill. The Yellowjackets are scheduled to host Tyler Consolidated Friday night.
"From the video we have on them, it doesn't look like they have changed a ton," Smith said. "They look like they run the same defense and changed their offense a little bit."
Williamstown returns its entire backfield from a team which finished 6-5 a year ago. Making sure the ball is handed off without a hitch to running backs Trace Hart, Dakota Watson and David Hastings is senior Jake Tracewell, who is entering his third season as the starting quarterback.
"We count on Jake to get us going," Smith said. "Of course, in our scrimmages he did OK. We didn't go crazy with him. He is one of our leaders and we're expecting nothing but big things from him."
Williamstown opened its preseason with scrimmages against Belpre and Caldwell then opposed Liberty (Harrison) the following week.
"Our defense was actually ahead of our offense, which is typical," Smith said. "Against Liberty Harrison, our defense did well and we scored three or four times. We shut them down pretty good and they made a few turnovers, which made it easy for us.
"It's still hard to judge where we are, but I know the kids felt good."
Since the they put on the pads for the first time in practice several weeks ago, two individuals in particular have emerged as pleasant surprises for the Yellowjackets - linebacker Noah Bellew and lineman Cody Smith.
Bellew is a 6-foot-2, 185-pound sophomore.
"Noah is very aggressive," Smith said. "He has long arms. He is kind of young so we didn't know to expect."
The 6-0, 210-pound Smith will line up at guard on offense. On the other side of the ball he will start at defensive end. As a junior, he missed a third of the season with a hip injury.
"Cody works hard," Smith said. "He is very intense and tries to do the right thing. He is quick and strong. I think he gained close to 20 pounds in the offseason."
Coach Smith is two wins shy of 100 for his career at Williamstown, but first things first and that is keeping Tyler Consolidated on the agenda. "We just need to do what we are supposed to do," Smith said. "Sometimes, you end up coaching your team and not keeping track of the other team. We still need an idea of what the other team is doing."