This is the fourth of an 11 part series of every team in the River Valley Touchdowns coverage area where I asked each coach three questions that need to be answered in order to have a successful season.
Coach Matt Garrett walked into a tough situation at Two Rivers. That’s putting it nicely. Not only were numbers low but the Gators haven’t won a game since they took down Booneville 40-34 on 9/25/15. Garrett seems to be winning over the people out in central Yell County with his zeal for turning the Gator program around.
I spoke with coach Matt Garrett and these are three questions he identified for Two Rivers to have a successful season.
1. How Physical are the Gators in the Trenches?
When you speak to coaches most will point to the offensive and defensive lines being productive as the first sign of said team having a successful season. When the tale of the 2019 season is told of the Two Rivers Gators the offensive line will have played a large part in it. The Gators return four of five starters on the offensive line from last season and they are large. Colton Garrett (6-2, 270), Tyler Reynolds (6-0, 245), Brayden Yandell (5-11, 265), Colton Rhodes (6-2, 320) and Josh Wooten (5-10, 255) make up the Gator front with an average weight of 271 lbs. which is a nice sized 3A offensive line.
The defensive line is anchored by yet another trench hog in Jeffrey Yandell (5-11 265), cousin of Brayden Yandell.
2. Does the Buy in Continue?
Speaking with coach Garrett he seems to think that the buy in is continuing at Two Rivers. When Garrett got there he got the team new uniforms and spruced up the weight room to get the kids excited about football again. He also has done a great job marketing the program through his motto of “row the boat.” Rowing the boat means that everybody is working together and going in the same direction. According to Garrett, “Buy in is better.” If buy in is better even with last season’s struggles then Garrett is doing something right.
3. Can Garrett get the kids to believe they can win?
The elephant in the room for the Gators is that ugly 36 game losing streak. When you are at a program who has suffered as much as Two Rivers you have to set mini goals to get to the big goals. Right now, for the Gators the goal is to get that first victory and build from there.
Last season, the Gators had somewhat of a breakthrough game versus Baptist Prep. Baptist Prep won the game 60-31 and outscored the Gators in the first quarter 21-0. Two Rivers outscored the Eagles 31-29 from that point forward. Now, some may not take that as a huge victory, but when you had only scored 17 points in the previous season and a half what happened at Baptist Prep is a victory in itself.
Garrett knows what success looks like as he played for Bo Hembree and the Warren Lumberjacks. He also was a coach at England when they spent most of the 2017 season at number one in 2A. One thing is clear, coach Matt Garrett is working as hard as he can to make the football program at Two Rivers one that fans of the Gators can be proud of.