Archived Story

Ready to pounce

Published 10:29am Thursday, August 22, 2013

For Tre Royal, it’s all about the first step.
Whether it’s exploding off the ball or stepping onto the field every Friday night for the Central-Coosa Cougars, Royal finds the most joy in the start of the journey.
“I like when we run through the banner before every game,” he said. “That’s my favorite part of the game. It gets me hyped and gets me ready to go.”
As a sophomore, Royal burst onto the scene as a disruptive playmaker on the Cougars’ front four.
He racked up 41 tackles and nine sacks, the latter of which led the team.
Now a junior, the Cougars’ speedy sack master is ready to help them step out of the shadow of CCHS’ basketball lore – something he’s helped to contribute to with his physical play and rebounding.
“That is my main goal,” Royal said. “I do not care about individual goals. Yeah, I had nine sacks last year, and of course I want to add to that. But more importantly, we only had three wins last year. We haven’t been to the playoffs since 2000. I’m for the team, and my main goal is to help get Coosa football back on the map.”
While Central-Coosa has little playoff glory to speak of, it has churned out a couple of dynamic pass-rushers who went on to start in the NFL in former Baltimore Ravens’ outside linebacker Adalius Thomas and current New York Giants’ defensive lineman Justin Tuck.
Royal seems poised to be the same kind of difference maker for the Cougars as Thomas and Tuck once were, but there’s a lot more suddenness to Royal, as his 40-yard dash time has been clocked as low as 4.4 seconds.
Along with underrated strength, as evidenced by his 220-pound max bench press and 415-pound max squat, Royal is already a handful to block.
However, Royal wants to mesh speed and power more seamlessly.
“You go up against different types of offensive linemen every week,” he said. “They’re big, and some of them have quick feet. But I think I’m explosive enough to where I don’t think they can block me. (Coach Richard Bell) has me on the strong side now, so I’m ready to be both a power and a speed rusher.”
In order to improve on his craft, Royal spent more than a month in Texas working on his agility and skill set.
Unfortunately for opponents, Royal said he has noticed marked improvements in his game.
“My footwork has gotten a lot better,” he said.
Another aspect that Royal has seen improvement in is his leadership ability.
Now established as an impact player for Central-Coosa, he is ready to motivate his teammates to improve as well.
“I’m not a very talkative person,” Royal said. “I usually let my actions speak for me, and I lead by example. I’m starting to speak up now, though. As a sophomore, I was more concerned with getting out there and doing my job to help the team. Now, it’s necessary for me to help lead the team.”
In addition to being a leader, Royal is ready to contribute in a new way. The Cougars have Royal set as the No. 1 tight end this season.
Royal, who has drawn interest from Alabama, UAB, Troy and Colorado State, said he is looking forward to the challenge.
“I’m not really a person that wants to play a certain position,” he said. “Wherever the team needs me to go, I’ll go. I don’t walk up to the coach and say ‘Hey, put me here.’ Whatever helps the team is what I’ll do.”
Overall, Royal said he hopes that he is able to lead the team to its first playoff berth in more than a decade.
But getting into the playoffs is just part one of his overall goals for this season.
“I don’t want us to just to get into the playoffs,” Royal said. “Hopefully, we can go to Tuscaloosa. Like I said, I want to get Coosa on the map. I don’t want to get into the playoffs and lose, because to me, a playoff trip is nice but you haven’t really accomplished anything if you get in and lose your first game. We want to be successful this year. Individual things, I really don’t care about. It’s all about the team.”
Fans of the Cougars can bet that Royal will be first in line as the Cougars being their prowl for the playoffs in 2013.
However, while Royal is usually first off the snap, he admits that he was a step late once.
“I started football in the seventh grade,” he recalled. “That’s when I started all of my sports. I wish I had started sooner.”
As far as the Cougars are concerned, it’s better late than never.
See The Outlook throughout the month of August for player profiles of The Outlook’s Super 12 team leading to the kickoff of the 2013 season.

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