In a game that was choppy and disjointed even by opening-game standards, Southwest DeKalb still proved to be too big, fast and strong for Redan.
The Panthers (1-0) improved to 33-2 all-time against the Raiders after a 41-2 drubbing, Friday at William “Buck” Godfrey Stadium in the season opener for both squads. It was the first win as Southwest DeKalb’s head coach for Damien Wimes, who came over from DeKalb County rival Miller Grove. Wimes, a 1991 graduate of Southwest DeKalb who spent 10 years at the school as an assistant, was 30-30 in six seasons at Miller Grove.
While he said he was nervous coaching his alma mater for the first time, he drew on the strength and encouragement of his father, who passed away last November.
“He believed in me and he wanted to see this day,” Wimes said. “He encouraged me and I drew on that strength, and I knew I was prepared for this day.
“I’m just happy for the community and for these kids,” Wimes said. “They want to do some big things this season for the community.”
On the other side, Redan was looking for its first win over the Panthers since 2004. But right from the start it was apparent that this would not be the Raiders’ night. Redan received the opening kickoff but a botched return placed them on their 16-yard line. After three plays netted negative eight yards, the Raiders shanked a punt that went just six yards. The Panthers scored three plays later as junior Jalen Alexander hauled in a pass from senior quarterback Justin Tomlin.
To add insult to injury, Southwest DeKalb’s holder bobbled the snap on the extra point attempt and then fumbled when he tried to run the ball in. But junior Joshua Tate scooped up the ball for the Panthers and walked into the endzone.
On the Raiders’ next possession, junior quarterback Frederic McKnuckle was picked off by Southwest DeKalb senior linebacker/safety Francisco Hunter, who raced into the endzone from 42 yards out. Marquel Crowder’s point-after kick made it 15-0 Panthers less than four minutes into the contest.
Tomlin threw two more touchdown passes in the first half – a 49-yarder to Barry Williams and a 50-yarder to sophomore Aquil Muhammad, caught a 4-yarder in the third quarter to cap the scoring for the Panthers.
By halftime, the lead had swelled to 35-0 for Southwest DeKalb. Still, Redan head coach Roderick Moore saw some positives on the field.
“It was 35-0 at halftime and 7-2 in the second half, so I like that our defense played better and got some three-and-outs,” said Moore, in his fifth season as head coach. “(Junior running back) Eian Scott ran the ball well for us. We have a lot of first year varsity players, so it’s going to take some time. Southwest DeKalb is a good team and coach Wimes is a good coach. So we’ll learn from this and I think we’ll be in the race for a playoff spot at the end of the season.”
Southwest DeKalb 15 20 6 0 41
Redan 0 0 2 0 2
SWD – Jalen Alexander 8 pass from Justin Tomlin (Joshua Tate run)
SWD – Francisco Hunter 42 INT return (Marquel Crowder kick)
SWD – Tomlin 1 run (Crowder kick)
SWD – Aquil Muhammad 50 pass from Tomlin (kick failed)
SWD – Barry Williams 49 pass from Tomlin (2kick)
Redan – Safety (SWD punter tackled in endzone)
SWD – Muhammad 4 pass from Tomlin (kick failed)