Quitman begins new era with Bulldog-ex at the helm

By Larry Tucker
editor@wood.cm
Posted 8/26/21

Every day, every snap of the football in practice, each drill they partake in, this year’s Quitman Bulldogs go 100%. 

The Shane Webber era began in November when he left his successful …

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Quitman begins new era with Bulldog-ex at the helm

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Every day, every snap of the football in practice, each drill they partake in, this year’s Quitman Bulldogs go 100%. 

The Shane Webber era began in November when he left his successful career at Rains High School to return to his roots as a Quitman Bulldog as athletic director and head football coach.

Webber coached in Quitman several years before going to Rains. He is changing attitudes about the program and gaining the trust of the Bulldogs who have bought in to his toughness and desire for them to be the best they can be.

“I want the kids to go hard every play, every second of a game and in practice,” Webber said. “These kids deserve to win. They work as hard, if not harder than any other team. The kids are starting to realize they can play this game and play to win.”

Webber believes in tradition.

“I want these kids to be proud of being a Quitman Bulldog and we have tradition to build on. Regardless of wins and losses, we want each team we play to know they just played the Quitman Bulldogs and our efforts will always be tough and memorable,” Webber noted.

Webber speaks with authority on the subject. He was a member of the 1986 team that recorded the only perfect season, 10-0. They were ranked as high as second by some polls. An upset in the second round of the playoffs ended their season. Webber added, “No doubt, it was one of the best years of my life. I would do it all over again if I could.” 

Immediately noticed about this year’s team will be a big change in the offense. The return to “smash-mouth” football will be on display.

There will be no more spread. The Bulldogs are going to huddle and run at people. They might pass very few times according to situations.

“We don’t have wide-receivers; we play offense with two tight ends. We are going to run the ball at people and they are going to have to stop us or we will control the game,” Webber said. “As long as you control the football the other team will have a hard time scoring.”

Quitman has not had enough players for a full JV schedule recently, but plans are for the JV to get in all their games. They have about 22 players on varsity and 17 or 18 on JV.

“I expect to get a few more out once school starts and we hope to get the JV up to about 19 or 20 players,” Webber said.

In this type of offense, everybody on the field becomes a blocker with specific assignments.

“We are physical up front and we feel like we can control the line of scrimmage,” the coach said. “The offensive line is definitely a key to our success.”

Webber is high on his offensive line which will be anchored by junior Hayden Batchelder at center. On one side will be guard Garin Kisinger, tackle Johnata Jones and tight end Justin Matthews. On the other will be Ethan Reynolds at guard, Jeremiah Lipscomb at tackle and Ethan Presley.

“Our line has really come around. These kids want to win so badly. Kisinger was a quarterback, but he jumped at the chance to play guard because he wanted to do whatever he needed to do to help the team. Ethan is very aggressive and he loves playing the game,” Webber said.

Webber has two quarterbacks ready. Senior Ford Tannebaum moved after making all-district as a wide-receiver. Sophomore Kameron Crockett is also skilled at quarterback. “We have two solid athletes at the quarterback position. We had great attendance in our summer program and that helped all of our kids, but Crockett worked really hard and has shown he can play the position. Ford is athletic and smart and he takes control of the huddle. We will be in good hands no matter who is in the game,” Webber said. “We will be in a slot-T offense with some downhill runs, just a true right at you and we will have some misdirection to utilize our speed.” 

Webber plans to get plenty of yards from senior running backs Wyatt Hightower and Mason Reynolds. 

“We are going try to split up the number of carries by each one of the backs,” Webber said. Jack Tannebaum will also get action as a tailback and receiver.

The Bulldogs will be in a 3-4 defense. “As long as we can keep people contained and not getting around the ends we will be in good shape. I have been surprised and happy with the defensive play of Kameron Crockett. This is a kid that has showed up to work this summer and he’s been flying around making plays,” Webber continued. “Justin Matthews has looked good at linebacker and Luke Williams has also looked really good at linebacker.”

What are the first year expectations for Webber? “If I’m not expecting to win football games, then I’m not a very good coach. I expect to change the culture. All coaches say that, but I know the expectation here is to win some ball games,” Webber said. “My biggest expectation is that, by God, when you play Quitman, you know you have been in a ball game. We need to go out there every week to compete and fight. We just need to go out on the field and prove it.”

Webber expects West Rusk and Harmony to be two of the district’s top teams but maintains each team has a shot at the playoffs.

“There is no reason for us not to be in the mix for a playoff spot. That’s the goal and that is what we plan to do this year,” he said.