The Timberland High School football program has been a model of consistency through the years and continued that with a strong 2019 campaign on the gridiron.
The Wolves advanced to the third round of the playoffs for the fourth straight year and finished 8-3. They won the region crown with a 3-1 record, their 14th region title in 15 seasons. It was Coach Art Craig’s 16th region title at Timberland.
“We always want to measure our teams against our other teams,” Craig said. “This team didn’t do what we did in 2011 and 2014 (win a state championship) but you look at how they prepared and how hard they tried, they don’t need to hold their heads down about anything. I’m very proud of the players. We played a lot of games with six guys going both ways.”
The Wolves have to find replacements for a number of potent weapons on offense, which averaged 322.9 yards and 33.5 points per game
Quarterback James Alston, running back Matt Williamson, running back Jamari Nelson and wide receiver Jaleen Richardson provided most of the spark this season but are moving on.
Alston passed for 907 yards, ran for 259 more and combined for 18 total touchdowns. Williamson finished with 1,045 rushing yards and scored 11 touchdowns on the ground. Nelson rushed for 861 yards and nine scores and hauled in 13 passes for 258 yards and four touchdowns. Richardson, a North-South all-star and special teams threat, caught 14 passes for 291 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 264 yards and five scores. He returned two punts for touchdowns.
Senior running back Emanuel Moultrie contributed three touchdowns on the ground.
Junior receiver Eldon Samuel-Wells will be an experienced skill player returning. He made 14 grabs for 211 yards and two scores.
Good news for the offense is that most of the starting group will return up front.
On the other side where the Wolves allowed just 15.4 points per game, the Wolves lose leading tackler Williamson (108 stops) but bring back the next four. Freshman linebacker Omari Jenkins was the second leading tackler with 95 stops. Junior defensive lineman Sam Moultrie made 74 tackles, including a team-high 20 tackles for loss. Sophomore strong safety Roman Wadford had 60 tackles and junior defensive lineman Jamaal McKinney had a team-high 11 sacks included in his 56 total tackles.
Additional returning defenders include lineman Jaylan Jefferson (47 tackles), junior linebacker Chris Williams (41 tackles), defensive back Samuel-Wells (28 tackles) and defensive back Jamal Williams (18 tackles).
Senior defensive lineman Javar Jenkins and defensive back Richardson contributed 55 and 54 stops respectively. Defensive lineman Dominick Milligan (36 stops) and Emanuel Moultrie (31 tackles) also move on.
“We’re going to lean on the defense early until we get some of the young kids ready on offense,” Craig said. “We feel like some guys off the JV team will be able to move up and make an impact. It’s going to be a challenge for us but we’ve been in this situation before.”