When a football team has only had three losing records in the last 10 years and several state championships under its belt, the most recent in 2006, the team is expected to uphold a certain standard under the lights on Friday nights. However, the Elkin Buckin’ Elks aren’t the same team that they once were. With smaller class sizes and not as many players coming out, the team has had to go through a bit of a rebuilding season the past few years.
Last year the Elks ended their 2015 season with a 1-10 overall record and a 1-6 conference record. With small senior and junior classes last season, the bulk of the team was mainly sophomores who were growing into their physique and trying to get the hang of playing against bigger guys.
“We had a big group of sophomores last year who played a lot on varsity, and they have progressed and gotten better this year,” said Head Coach Scott Wood. “That class is going to be the nucleus of our team again this season. The junior class is a big one for us.”
With only six seniors this season, three returning and three new, Wood is expecting the junior class to take hold of the reigns and give it their all this season. With 20 juniors on the team, it’s not too far-fetched of an idea.
“These kids are older this season, and they are going to be better than their sophomore season last year,” said Wood. “We’re still not going to be as big as some of the other teams, but we’re definitely going to be stronger than we were last season.”
The Buckin’ Elks are looking to improve on different areas that they struggled with last season that kept them from winning a few more games. The running game, and the defensive game were not up to par for the Elks as the year before they had a great running game. On special teams, the Elks have a new kicker in Cory Wiles. Wiles is a senior who has played baseball at Elkin for three years and decided to give football a chance this season.
“Cory Wiles is a kicker who came out this year, he came out from the baseball team,” said Wood. “He will make a big difference for us this season on special teams.”
The quarterback position is in the hands of junior Beau Burgess. Burgess stands at 5’10 and played last season in the quarterback position for the Elks. He has the speed and the ability to run the ball, if needed, for the Elks.
“We have three returners from last year’s team and we have three new seniors who haven’t played before,” said Wood. “Jackson Carter is a four-year starter for us so we’re looking for him to step-up this season. We only have two seniors who have had significant starting time for the varsity team.”
Early in the season, the Elks will be tested in the nonconference realm. They came up against Forbush for the first game of the season. The Falcons tested the Elk’s line-play and show them where they need to improve on the defensive line and the offensive line before moving on to the next games against North Surry and Mount Airy. The Elks first home game will be Sept. 9 as they take on Surry Central at 7:30 p.m.
“We think we’re better at this point in the year than we were last season,” said Wood. “We’ll just have to see how it goes.”
Wood’s coaching staff includes Matt Dunn (offensive and defensive line), Nick Tomlin (defensive coordinator and quarterbacks), Cory Rycroft (running backs and defensive line), Tony Duncan (wide receivers), and Jacob Riley (offensive and defensive line).
Kristian Russell may be reached at 336-258-4052.