Wilson football looks to recover from subpar 2017 season

Oliver Walke

The 2017 season for Wilson’s varsity football team started with a brutal 45-0 loss to Friendship Collegiate Academy. Wilson kicked off the 2018 season on a better note, with a 20-7 win over Woodland Hills (PA). Senior wide receiver/defensive back Quincy Barber did not hesitate to show why he is going to be looked to time and time again this year, fueling the successful 2018 kickoff with two touchdowns.
Wilson’s 2017 team came up short, as their controversial loss to Ballou kept them out of the Turkey Bowl for the first time in several years, and as a result, they were not able to contend in the DCSAA tournament. The team went into last year knowing they would have to improvise at the quarterback position since Malakai Anthony, the team’s expected quarterback, transferred to St. John’s. Anthony has since returned and will be on the team this year. In effect, juniors Quincy Barber and Zayaan Cobb shared the quarterback role last year, despite both of their true positions being wide receiver and defensive back. Fortunately, Wilson had two strong running backs in Amir Gerald, a current senior, and Anton Reed, who graduated last year. Unfortunately, the run-heavy offense wasn’t balanced enough for the team to end up with the results they had hoped for.
“Last year was a lot of running the ball with Amir, Anton, and I. But with Malakai back, I can go back to my true position [wide receiver] on offense and we are more versatile,” said Barber about the difference between Wilson’s 2017 and 2018 squads.
“Believe me when I say we have talent at every position on the field,” explained quarterback Malakai Anthony, showing his confidence despite only having recently re-joined the team. However, while talent is plentiful, Anthony knows that success starts with team chemistry. “We are mainly focusing on building bonds as teammates first and giving 100 percent effort on every play. We want everybody playing their role on the team well enough for us to execute against each opponent.”
Barber, who spends time on both sides of the ball, believes the defense has little to improve on in terms of team chemistry. “The defense relies on each other as well as trusts each other. We have all been playing together for years and for some of us since middle school,” Barber said. “We trust in each other to do their job. If everybody does what their supposed to do, there’s no telling what we can accomplish.”
A more balanced offense and a close defense should help the team, “go 1-0 every week, and make history as the first Wilson football team to win a Turkey Bowl since 1991,” as Anthony put it. Wilson’s strong start in their trip to Pennsylvania could be key to the season’s success. “If we get the ball rolling, it’s going to be hard to stop us,” Barber said.