Heath Barringer, Staff Writer
Irwin Belk Stadium was the scene for the Wingate Football team on Aug. 30 as they opened the 2018 season on a Thursday night. Fresh off a 9-2 record and a SAC Championship in 2017, the Bulldogs look to repeat this year with a new quarterback under center. Shaw Crocker, the redshirt freshman from Greenville, S.C. made his debut for the Bulldogs and made it a memorable one.
Shaw is an education major with a focus on math education, and with that, it brings pretty tough calculus classes that he brought up when I had the chance sit down and chat with him before the game. He said, “Having my redshirt year really helped me get settled into college with classes and all and not having the pressure of playing right away so I could get right in the classroom to start off was nice.”
He also attributed to how comfortable with the Bulldog offense he was compared to his redshirt year where he did not play by saying, “I looked at it as a chance to grow and grow closer with some of my teammates. Our quarterback room is pretty tight and having that year to get comfortable really helped.”
Shaw had a great football mind before he came to Wingate and this comes from having a father who has been in high school coaching for 30 plus years. Both of his parents attended Newberry College where Crocker almost ended up attending himself before making the decision to bring his talents to Wingate.
He talked about some nerves before his first start like anyone would, but he also talked about knowing the team had his back and trusting in the system. He was just ready to have some fun and play ball. And on opening night for the Bulldogs, that is exactly what he did.
After the game I had a chance to catch up with offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Long for Wingate. He summed up what everyone was thinking by just saying, “I thought it went really well.”
Crocker ended the night throwing for 202 yards and 2 touchdowns on 14-22 from the pocket. He also had a rushing touchdown on a nifty little keeper from the 2-yard line. He thanks his teammates for his performance and personally his center Hunter Jolly, who made his first career start as a redshirt freshman as well on Thursday.
Jolly had confidence in his quarterback by saying, “I knew he was going to light it up before we ever stepped out on to the field.” Crocker was happy with is first performance and I’m sure the rest of OneDog Nation was too.
Edited by Brendan Shriver