Six games have passed for the Windsor Knights, but none have been as important as the next four will be for the team’s postseason hopes.
Windsor (4-2) kicks off its GISA Region 4-AA schedule Friday night at home against Brentwood, the first of four straight region games to end the season. And for the first time in years, head coach Jimmy Watts said the team has a championship mindset.
“We’ve used the word ‘championship’ around here this year, and it’s the first time in a long time that we’ve even had a sniff of a chance at maybe competing for one,” he said. “The kids are excited about that.”
And with the exception of one game -- a 48-42 loss to Piedmont -- Windsor’s games have been blowouts. The game with the Cougars was the only one decided by fewer than 33 points. In their victories, the Knights have outscored their opponents 222-23, averaging 55.5 points per game.
“Offensively, we’ve been clicking pretty well, I think,” Watts said. “I think we have a wide variety of weapons.”
Watts spoke highly of junior quarterback Jonathon Osborn, senior running back Josh Brooks and junior wide receiver Marquise Jackson. Osborn has combined for close to 1,000 yards passing and rushing, Brooks is approaching 1,000 yards on the ground and 200 in the air, and Jackson has caught 11 touchdowns.
But the one game in which Windsor did not score more than 40 points this year was a 43-7 loss to Bulloch in which Watts said his team “just didn’t give a very good effort.”
“It was kind of after that week we kind of had our ‘Ah-ha’ moment, if you will, and decided we needed to clean things up discipline-wise and hold the kids accountable a little bit,” Watts said. “They’ve bought in to what we’ve asked them to do.”
Watts said the team had confidence approaching the game but did not play the disciplined style of football his staff preaches. Afterward, Watts said the players realized the ramifications of focusing on individual goals.
“It was really an eye-opener for the guys,” he said. “They saw that if they didn’t play a disciplined brand of football like we normally play, when you play outside of the system in place and try to do your own thing and pout when things don’t go your way, then you end up getting beat.”
Since that loss, the Knights are 3-1 with the loss coming to Piedmont.
Watts said the team has improved each week as it prepares for the vital final four games. He said the region is tough with Briarwood (5-2) and Brentwood (1-6) standing in the way. But despite holding the better record at the moment, the Buccaneers lost to Piedmont 53-18 on Friday night. Both the Buccaneers and War Eagles are “smashmouth teams,” according to Watts.
“They just like to line up and run right at you and get 3 yards in a cloud of dust,” he said.
Because of the teams’ playing style, Watts said the defense is focusing on assignments and “playing a good brand of football.”
The fourth team in the region, Monsignor Donovan, won the championship last year but has fallen off significantly this year as the Rams are 0-6 and have been outscored 287-26. The Knights open region play with Brentwood, a team suffering through a five-game losing skid.
“We still have some things that we’re working on cleaning up, but guys are pretty focused and excited about how the season is going,” he said. “They’ve really jelled together as a team and are playing hard.”