Here’s the thing about Central Coosa’s Week 0 game against Winterboro: Any team should be an opponent that’s playing with only nine players.
Actually, the fact Coosa held Winterboro to 42 points while playing with nine players for the entire second half and dressing only 12 to begin with says a lot.
“The fact that they didn’t score on every possession is good to me,” Cougars coach Brett Thomas said. “Realistically the game was a misnomer because if you look at the entire game, we held Winterboro on several possessions. We would run out of steam and they would get their second wind. It’s not like they were scoring a whole bunch of times then we ran the clock out.”
In fact, Winterboro needed every second — and a last-minute timeout — to get in its 42 points.
That being said, inflating the numbers doesn’t necessarily equate for a win this week. But the Cougars do expect to be up to what they consider full strength as the majority of the players missing last week weren’t eligible due to paperwork issues.
And they’re going to need all the weapons they can get this week when they hit the road for Holtville, a team that has its sights set on the postseason and will be fired up for its season opener. The Bulldogs defeated B.B. Comer just 14-0 in their jamboree last week, but the score was deceiving as it was only a weather-shortened game. They played just two quarters.
Holtville also has a lot of offensive weapons, and whether Bulldog coach Jason Franklin gives the starting nod to Drake Baker or Braxton Buck at quarterback, both have proven they are game changers.
“They run the spread and from what I understand, they have a decent passing attack,” Thomas said. “We just have to make sure that we cover as well as possible. Fortunately for us, the players that are coming back this week are cornerbacks and defensive backs and we can play them both ways, so we can get breaks on defense. The counter to that is they’re very green and inexperienced.”
Coosa does hope to match up size-wise a little better with Holtville’s defense. While Winterboro simply outmanned the Cougars, Holtville shouldn’t boast the same overpowering size. Only Hunter Martin returns as a starter on the defensive line for the Bulldogs, but that won’t matter if Coosa can’t get its offensive line together.
“It comes down to us,” Thomas said. “If our line can just a hold a little bit, we can be successful. A lot of people don’t understand. The armchair coaches come up with all their theories, but the success and failure of a football team depends upon its front line defensively and offensively. Without having a solid offensive line, it’s going to be hard to be successful.”
Levi Krause and Dawson Thornton were both standouts on the line a week ago, but it needs to come from more than just them.
Both Seketrius Miliner and Donta Daniel had opportunities to score against Winterboro but with every Cougar playing every single snap, it was easy for them to run out of steam. Quin Brooks was a nice addition at tight end, and Thomas is hoping Noel Jones can help with his speed this week.
“The one game Noel played in last year, he ran the ball well,” Thomas said. “The people we had in last week do not know how to run. Even though we teach them, they’re receivers or first-year players. Noel is big enough that he can move the ball; he can move the pile. We have a little more depth now.”