Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Breaks Going against Ware Banged-Up Gators Play 6-0 Valdosta

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Breaks Going against Ware Banged-Up Gators Play 6-0 Valdosta

Article excerpt

Byline: Lawrence Dennis, Times-Union sports writer

"If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all."

Ware County High football coach Dan Ragle isn't echoing those words from the old Hee Haw refrain. But he could be.

Going into a 7:30 p.m. game tomorrow at Waycross' Memorial Stadium against Valdosta, his Gators are 2-4 overall, 0-3 in Region 1-AAAAA and facing elimination from the playoffs after four losses in a row.

In three of those, the Gators lost in overtime or in the last minutes of regulation.

But the real key to the collapse of the team that finished 8-2 and No. 2 in the region to Valdosta last year could be a rash of injuries in the last month that few coaches have to contend with in one season.

Ware will be on its third quarterback and its fourth and fifth running backs of the year against the Wildcats, 6-0, No. 4 in the Georgia Associated Press poll and No. 13 in the nation in the USA Today rankings.

Everybody, including Ragle, knows that a loss to Valdosta would virtually eliminate the Gators from the playoffs for the first time since the coach came to Waycross from Americus three years ago.

"We're in a desperation mode," said Ragle, whose team lost 25-15 in overtime last week to previously winless region foe Lee County. "But like I told the kids, whether we win out or finish 2-8, what matters to me is that we play hard. The kids are still working hard. We haven't given up on the season."

There certainly seem to be plenty of reasons for the Gators to capitulate.

The starting quarterback against Valdosta will be Steve Daniels, a 5-foot-8, 145-pound sophomore wide receiver. Daniels came in last week against Lee when freshman Henry Chubb was knocked out of the game just after halftime with a concussion.

Chubb was in for starting QB and punter Josh Anderson, who's still nursing an injured knee he got in the 15-14 loss to Tift County Sept. 28.

Starting running back C.J. Harris also went out in that game. Last week his replacement, Matt Jones, also went out, as did the team's other starting running back, Darnell Baker. …

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