Central Coosa's Xavier Moon

Ryne Gallacher / The Outlook Xavier Moon enters his senior season.

The wait is over for Cougar football. Central Coosa has been patiently waiting to jump on the field and build off the momentum it earned from the final game of last season when they won their first game in three years.

Coach Brett Thomas and the players have been working hard all summer to turn the corner as a program and take the next steps toward building the program. Participation and enthusiasm is at an all-time high under Thomas.

“We are looking forward to getting on the field,” Thomas said. “The first two weeks off have been really beneficial to the new and young guys. We ended last season on a high note; a lot of guys are coming back and confident from that win.”

The Cougars will get their shot on Friday when they travel to Luverne. Central Coosa’s confidence and excitement is going to be much needed against the Tigers, who are coming off a 49-0 loss to their huge rivals in Brantley and looking to right those wrongs by taking out frustration on the Cougars.

“Luverne has been a good team in the past so a win against them would mean everything,” Thomas said. “If we win the game, our confidence will be off the charts and everything will be gravy from there. Getting a win in our first game would be huge, especially a region game.”

The Tigers are a pass-happy offense that likes to spread their players out and give them space to make a guy miss. In order to secure the win, it will be about stopping Luverne on early downs and force them into third-and-long situations.

“Luverne passes the ball a lot,” Thomas said. “We made some changes to our defense because we know they don’t like to run the ball much.”

On the other side of the ball, Central Coosa has some playmakers including first-year starting quarterback Trae Butler, who is entering his junior season. Butler is a duel-threat quarterback who will shoulder much of the Cougars’ offense with his speed running the ball and his quick, hard release when throwing. With it being his first year at the position there will definitely be some hiccups along the way, but his talent and natural ability to feel opposing players around him in the pocket could open up big play potential for Central Coosa.

“Offensively we are going to take what the defense gives us,” Thomas said. “We are going to get the ball in our playmakers’ hands as quickly as possible, whether it be quick passes or handing off to our freshman running back.”

Thomas is eager to try and build the Cougars’ win streak to two games in a row but also realizes right now his young team is still developing, so having his players see their hard work is paying off in some form or fashion will be big down the road.

“As the game progresses if we are doing things well and having success, they will buy in even more and that confidence will grow,” Thomas said. “We have young, inexperienced guys at key positions but we have a lot more talent than previous years, so it’ll be fun to see this first game.”

Ryne Gallacher is a sports writer for The Outlook.