Taylor: Starting from scratch, again

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Bob Taylor must be a glutton for punishment.

For that was basically the reaction that most people in Eufaula had upon witnessing that their beloved head football coach, who had risen a Lakeside School football team from the dead in just two short years, wave goodbye to one of the fastest growing programs in the AISA to take over as the head football coach at West Alabama Prep.

“People around Eufaula were shocked,” Taylor said. “It was hard, probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. But in the end, WAP is where I need to be, it’s where I want to be.”

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In his two seasons at The Lakeside School, Taylor took a team that had won just nine games in five years to back-to-back winning seasons in 2002 and 2003. He had built a successful program from the ground up.

“It was great to be there on the ground floor when everything changed at Lakeside,” Taylor said. To take a team that had not had a winning season in 10 years to a 6-5 record my first year will be something I will cherish forever.”

And now it’s time to do it all over again, but Taylor isn’t worried. He’s been there before and is confident he can do the same for WAP as he did for Lakeside.

“I enjoy this type of situation,” Taylor said. “It’s a chance to do it all over again, and at a school I would love to see grow. I can’t say just how successful we are going to be this year, but I know we’re going to win games.”

How many? Well Taylor says that depends on a few key games, games that could mean the difference in a 3-7 season and a 7-3 season.

“From looking at the schedule, I would say that our games with Marengo Academy, Sumter Academy and Central Academy will be the deciding factors this season,” Taylor said. “West Alabama hasn’t been able to beat Marengo in quite a while, but I believe we can. This group has already expressed to me that they want to accomplish that task before they leave here.”

But there are other key factors at play at WAP that could seriously alter this season’s outcome as well. One of those factors involves a decision from a group of young men from Eutaw.

With the recent fall of Warrior Academy’s varsity football program, there are many experienced and highly talented players without a home. And right now, Taylor could use a few good men.

“We have plenty of players from Warrior that are interested in coming to WAP, but as of right now we have only picked up two,” Taylor said. “But we believe that we should have about four new players in the next few weeks and could see as many as seven new players before it’s all over with.”

But he’s not being unrealistic about the situation at WAP. Taylor takes over a team that’s crying with opportunity, but stripped of talent and experience. Success will come to WAP, but it’s not going to come easily.

“It’s true that we don’t have a great deal of talent left behind this season,” Taylor said. “We are very young, but we have plenty of hungry athletes with a great deal of desire and heart to win, and that’s enough for me.”