As Weatherford and its district opponents enter the eighth week of competition, a common thing that coaches wish for, not only for the kids but for the overall benefit of the team, is good health. Hoping for the best and expecting the worst is never an attractive prospect, but has the potential to rear its ugly head, in reality. The Roos have had their share of reality in the tough 2008 campaign, including a triple-overtime 41-35 loss to the Haltom Buffalos last week, but maintain a resilience that speaks well of their collective character.

“These are great kids,” said Weatherford head coach Kenny Wheaton, when asked how morale was holding up in the face of the mounting injuries. “[In Monday’s] practice, we had a lot of walking wounded out there.

“A lot of places I’ve been in the past, when you lose your leaders, like your [Chris] Fielders and Gabe Garners, the list goes on ... It’s a bit of a downer and you tend not to have good practices, but these kids fight through that.

“We told the kids ‘We’re hurt, but it is what it is. The good Lord’s in charge of that, we just have to step up and play.’”

Wheaton and his staff feel good about the skill positions on offense, despite the loss of starting slotback Fielder earlier in the year, and still see progress in the offensive line. The defense has struggled, to stay healthy and to get up to performance speed quickly, urged on by necessity.

“[Shawn Roberson] did great carrying the football [against Haltom],” Wheaton said. “The offensive line played super good and are getting better. We knew we had a good backfield and we’ve been kind of waiting for the offensive line to turn it around, and the past few weeks they’ve really turned it up a notch.

“Defensively we’re trying to plug some holes. We have a lot of injuries. We have some guys starting out there that weren’t even playing football last year.”

Time waits for no one, and its time for the Roos to travel to Richland, Friday. The Rebels are perfect on the season and have accomplished the feat with practiced execution.

[Richland head coach Eugene] Weir and his staff do a good job with that team, Wheaton said. “They’re not just extremely talented, but are very disciplined.”

The Roos will look to a disciplined performance, and a measure of good breaks, to help in their District 3-5A match Friday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

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