Beaufort Today -

New coach: Battery Creek’s days as a doormat are over

  • Dan Hunt/Beaufort Today The Dolphins circle around coach Walt Wilson as he gives instructions at the start of practice.
  • Dan Hunt/Beaufort Today Coach Walt Wilson monitors one of Battery Creek’s drills.
  • Dan Hunt/Beaufort Today The Dolphins huddle for a pre-practice prayer.
  • Dan Hunt/Beaufort Today Dolphin players work on a hitting drill.

New Battery Creek football coach Walt Wilson kicked off his first summer practice at the school the same way he has for most of his 25 years in coaching: with a weekend camp that features an overnight stay and midnight practice.

Wilson said the experience is important in building relationships.

“It means a lot when you know who you’re playing with and playing for,” he said. “And for us coaches, we’re bonding, too. It means a lot when you learn the guy that you’re coaching beside.”

Wilson brought in his own offensive and defensive coordinators, but kept five previous Battery Creek coaches.

Battery Creek has struggled in recent years, but Wilson has been stressing to his team to forget the past. They did so symbolically Thursday night.

“We had a barrel and we were just burning wood and I told them, ‘Tonight, we’re burning the past,’” Wilson said. “What happened in the past doesn’t mean anything anymore.

“But I told them, ‘Everybody, look in this barrel. Visualize what you want this year to be.’ They didn’t realize at the time what the main goal was. The main goal was for all of them to simply look in that barrel and all be focused on one thing. That’s how we have to be on Friday nights.”

Wilson may want his team thinking about the future, but he hasn’t put everything from Battery Creek’s past seasons behind him.

He may not have been around last season, but he took exception with some of the scores posted against the Dolphins. A 77-0 throttling against Bluffton was the worst of them.

“The past is the past. But some things you can’t forget,” he said.

“I did the numbers myself. Last year we gave up 40.6 per game and scored 7.6. That doesn’t balance. You won’t see 40.6 this year. I promise you that. We’re tired of having the scoreboard broken on us. It’s not going to happen.

“I’m going to be honest. I take offense to some things that happened in the past. I’ve been in the position where I could have done some of the same. But I think about the kids on the other side. All I want is a ‘W.’ I’m not in it to dishearten kids on the other side. But there was some of that done.”

Wilson believes his staff is changing the culture at Battery Creek. He takes pride in having pride, and the little things matter to him, such as making sure every player is in uniform on game day — no mismatched socks or undershirts.

“Enough is enough,” Wilson said. “Thursday, Aug. 17, we’re having another ceremony, the doormat-burning ceremony.”

The ceremony is exactly what it sounds like. Players will all place a piece of doormat in the flames.

The Dolphins play their first game at home against Swansea on Aug. 19. Wilson hasn’t made any bold guarantees about the result of the game but he has made a promise.

“You will leave our first game with a different outlook on Battery Creek,” he said. “The water’s been low a long time, but ‘the Creek’ is on the rise.”