By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Running the football is a tradition at Giles High School. For more than three decades the single wing offense employed by the Spartans has produced many great runners and as a team Giles is a strong program with frequent playoff appearances.
The 2013 Giles Spartans are currently 6-0 and rated No. 1 in Class AA West in Virginia. This past week the Spartans behind the legs and feet of Brett Whitlow defeated Auburn. Whitlow, a 5’9 junior ran for 303 yards, six touchdowns and booted five extra points through the uprights.
For his performance Whitlow is the Pocahontas Coal Association/Bluefield Daily Telegraph Player of the Week.
Jokingly asked if his legs were weary after the huge performance this past week, Whitlow himself chuckled and responded, “No sir, not really. We do a lot of conditioning in practice so we were well prepared.”
Rather than speak of his accolades, Whitlow talked of his teammates and what they are doing one week at a time.
“We all have really good hearts. We play the game as hard as we can on Fridays. We get out there every week, we practice as hard as we can and just bust our tails,” Whitlow said. “It (his yards and scores) is just a refresher on how good our line is. It’s not about my stats or anybody else’s, it’s the team.”
No matter the opponent, no matter Giles’ record or the record of the opposition, Whitlow said the approach is the same.
“We treat every Friday the same, as if it’s our last game,” Whitlow commented. “We come out and we play hard and do what we’re coached to do and that usually gets the us ‘W.’”
A footballer since the fourth grade, Whitlow said the players on the Spartans’ team have played together for years and that contributes to the team’s success.
“We’re all brothers out there. We’ve all come up through little league. We’ve all played together, played against each other,” Whitlow commented. “We know everybody’s strengths and weaknesses and we know how to pick each other up. We’ve been teammates for a very long time.”
According to Giles head coach Jeff Williams, Whitlow is averaging nearly 190 yards rushing a game through six contests this season and is the latest in a long line of successful Spartan runners.
“Ever since we started running the single wing we’ve had a tradition of great running backs here going all the way back to Leon King in 1980,” Williams pointed out. “I think a lot of kids come in when they know that they’re a decent running back, they know that there’s high expectations for them out here and they know they’re going to get to carry the mail a lot and a lot of times they step up and the stats just take care of themselves.
“We’ve got a great group of running backs. I think our line is getting better. We’ve just got a great group of backs back there with Brett, Tyler Perdue, Brian Mann, Dusty Boggess and John Teats. All those kids can really run the ball effectively for us.”
As far as currently being the top team in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Williams does not let that phase him nor his team.
“I don’t care about that. The only thing we’re looking at is one game at a time. That’s the way you’ve got to do it,” Williams pointed out. “We’re preparing and getting ready for East Mont (Eastern Montgomery) and when our 10th game is over, if somebody tells us we’re in the playoffs, we’ll go to the playoffs. We’re not looking for big-time goals of state championships and things like that. Our main goal every year is to win more games than we lose.”
A junior, Whitlow hopes to use his football skills to attend college.
“I hope to be an engineer one day and I’m trying to use sports to get me in college,” Whitlow said.
Whitlow’s father works at the Radford arsenal and his mother is an attorney. He has two brothers who attended WVU and a younger sister who attends Eastern Elementary School.
Asked to speak of Whitlow’s value to the team, Williams said, “He just has all the tangibles, athletically, academically, both sides.”
— Contact Bob Redd at