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Cliff Williams / The Outlook Central Coosa’s Donta Daniel has been a catalyst for the Cougars for the past two seasons and that's not going to change this year.

A lot of questions surround the Central Coosa football team this year.

There have been rumors flying the Cougars may not even field a team, but those rumors aren’t true.

The big question remains though: What exactly will that team look like?

Even Coosa coach Brett Thomas isn’t really sure. He said despite having more than 60 kids come to his last football meeting before school ended, he’s had only seven to 10 players showing up for summer workouts and that includes the seventh- and eighth-graders.

Just three varsity players have been consistently working out this summer, so it’s hard to know exactly what will happen once school starts.

That being said, there are a few players to keep an eye on for the Cougars.

Donta Daniel, running back

Daniel has always been Coosa’s biggest weapon.

A two-time All-Outlook selection, Daniel has been a threat both offensively and defensively for the past two seasons. But his premier position, running back, is where he’ll do most of his damage this year.

Thomas is expecting between 25 and 30 players this year despite having so few in the summer, so he’s hoping that’ll translate to less kids having to play both ways. If everything goes as planned, Daniel will play strictly at running back. Not playing on both sides of the ball will keep him fresh to create havoc when the Cougars are on offense.

Daniel was also one of Coosa’s strongest linebackers last year, though, so if the Cougars get in a pinch, it’s not unlikely Daniel will be back on the defensive side as well.

Levi Crause, offensive/defensive lineman

Heading into his senior year, Crause will easily return the most experience to both the offensive and defensive line this season. He’ll take up his same position at tackle on defense and will move to center as the anchor of the offensive line.

Thomas said he’s expecting Crause to be even bigger, stronger and faster than he was a year ago.

Ryan Payne, quarterback

Brand new to football, Payne brings a competitive spirit to the Cougars that is much needed.

Despite entering his senior year, Payne has never played varsity football. He is however one of the top players for the Coosa baseball team and he’s got the size to be a strong Class 2A quarterback.

Because of the limited number of players, Payne hasn’t gotten to do much work connecting with his team but he is learning the plays.

“He’s shown a lot of promise over the summer even though this will be his first year playing football,” Thomas said. “We’ve tried to make things simple for him but he’s been here every day this summer.”

Dawson Duncan, tight end/wideout

Duncan is one of those question marks as he hasn’t attended many summer workouts. But Thomas still expects him to be a big contributor and originally had plans for him to be the starting quarterback.

Instead, Duncan will take up a myriad of skill positions mainly as tight end or wideout. He can also run the ball if needed with a bigger frame.

There were several others Thomas said he has high expectations for, such as Jashaslin James, but he’s uncertain who will play for the Cougars this year. He’s hoping a lot of those questions are answered once the school year begins Aug. 7.

Coosa will open the season Thursday, Aug. 22 at home versus Winterboro. The game was originally scheduled for Friday night.

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