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Lizi Arbogast / The Outlook Central Coosa's Ryan Payne, center, and the Cougar offense should be more competitive against Vincent's defense tonight.

For the second time this season, Central Coosa will face a winless football team.

The first game didn’t end so well as Horseshoe Bend overpowered the Cougars two weeks ago, but they are still trying to remain positive as they hit the road for Vincent and a Class 2A Region 4 game.

One major problem is the Cougars lost three more players who have left the team for various reasons and lineman Levi Krause will likely be out with a rib injury.

“The thing about it is if we were at full strength, it should have been a good game,” Coosa coach Brett Thomas said. “It would’ve been competitive for both of us, but now I don’t know. We still should be more competitive, but as soon as we look at it, we’ve lost three more players. Now we don’t have the substitutes so now it comes back to a fatigue issue. So second half you’re back in the same boat again if you’re successful in the first half.”

Probably the toughest loss the Cougars will face is that of Noel Jones, who had to leave the team due to personal reasons. Jones had become a go-to skill player both running and receiving the ball and he’d also started to take quite a few snaps at quarterback in order to give Donta Daniel some rest.

Daniel, who stands at just 5-foot-8, had trouble throwing the ball last week against Walter Wellborn’s line which towered over him. Now he’s in an even tougher boat as the Cougars will be extremely limited in attempting to give him any kind of rest.

“If everything goes perfectly, Donta Daniel will get at least two to three series off, and I’m talking punt return, kickoffs, everything,” Thomas said. “The problem is Donta can’t see over the line, so if receivers don’t run the routes and he’s passing to where he thinks the receiver is going to be and your receiver is not there, it’s impossible.” 

Daniel will look more to Dequan Patterson to try to help him get the job done offensively.

“I’m anxious to see what this new kid is going to do when we give him the ball and that’s Dequan Patterson,” Thomas said. “He moved up the depth charts with Noel leaving.”

Vincent (0-5, 0-2) typically runs a 4-2-5 defense and the Yellow Jackets have given up a ton of points this season. No one has scored less than 28 points against them. But they do boast a big line which will cause problems for the Cougars.

Another thing that’s worrisome for Coosa is Vincent has proved it can score. The Cougars are trying to build off actually scoring a late touchdown against Walter Wellborn last week.

“The whole attitude changed after we scored,” Thomas said. “It may seem odd but to score takes a big burden off you when you haven’t scored a lot. And to score against a quality opponent means a lot.”

Thomas said he’s also seen a lot of growth from Demarcus Sweet on the defensive line. Sweet is extremely undersized to be playing defensive end, but his coachability has helped him start to be productive. Sweet finished with nine tackles last week.

“Attitude-wise, he’s just like Donta,” Thomas said. “He tries and this is the first time ever playing football and he does everything you ask him to do. That says a lot with him being at the line and knowing he’s getting beat every time but he comes right back. And he tries to work on things to get better.”

Despite the troublesome season, the Cougars aren’t giving up and they know they have at least two more potentially winnable games on the season and it starts tonight.

“I applaud the young men who are out there,” Thomas said. “They’ve really banded together to say they’re going to do everything in their power for some success for the remainder of the season.” 

Lizi Arbogast is the sports editor at Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc.