2012 High School Football Preview: Numbers-challenged Coosa will be in shape

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By Gene Stanley/Messenger Sports Correspondent

The talent is there and the desire is there. 

But are the numbers there?

That’s the question that plagues Coosa Christian football coach Van Owens.

“It’s the same problem as last year,” he said. “We don’t have much depth, so we worry about injuries because it’s tough to find a replacement sometimes.”

In the first game of the 2011 season, the Conquerors lost two seniors and a freshman starter to injury and the rest of the season was a bit makeshift.

Thus, plenty of conditioning work occurred in the off-season.

“We’ve told the kids that we’re not trying to kill them or anything,” Owens said. “We’re just trying to make sure they’re in good enough shape to play offense and defense for an entire game.”

Even with all of that conditioning, Owens said the attitude is positive among the players.

“I’m excited about what I’ve seen in the off-season,” he said. “The kids understand why we’re having to push them and they’re excited about playing an entire game, both ways.”

Coosa lost its quarterback when Ryan Carroll’s father took a job at Coosa Valley Academy, prompting Ryan to transfer there.

That move created an opening for a new quarterback.

“We’ve had to modify and adjust a few things,” Owens said.

Enter senior Austin Mills, who has started at linebacker for a couple of years and also played some running back. 

Mills gained a team-high 751 rushing yards last year.

“Austin will do well for us,” Owens said. “He’s just going to be seeing the game from a different perspective.”

Mills will also play linebacker, where he had 48 tackles in 2011. 

Ben Mills and Noah Willamson, along with Brandon Phillips, will get most of the carries. 

Ben Mills and Williamson will line up at linebacker, while Phillips will also see work at receiver and defensive back. Williamson had 43 tackles last season. 

Twins Jonah and Micah Mills will play receiver and defensive back.

Seth Williamson, Matt Aldridge, Drake Burger and Mikey Green will lead the lines.

After St. Bernard, Parkway Christian, Skyline and Jefferson Christian dropped their football programs, the Alabama High School Athletic Association had to realign the regions in this part of the state. 

Coosa was unlucky enough to be in a nine-team 1A, Region 7 that includes Collinsville, Cedar Bluff, Spring Garden, Gaylesville, Donoho, Valley Head, Woodville and Jacksonville Christian. 

“The front end of our schedule is very heavy,” Owens said. “Most of the teams we’ll play in the first half are playoff-caliber. Not that the second half is easy but it’s a little easier than the first half.”

Chris Loyd, Troy Evetts, Kenneth Hallmark, Blake Matthews and Otis Toney are assistant coaches.

2012 schedule

Aug. 30 – @Collinsville*

Sept. 7 – Donoho*

Sept. 14  – @Cedar Bluff*

Sept. 21 – Spring Garden*

Sept. 28 – @Gaylesville*

Oct. 5  – Valley Head* 

Oct. 12 – @Shades Mtn. Christian  

Oct. 19  – JCA*

Oct. 26  – @Woodville*

Nov. 2 – Southeastern 

* Region game

2011 results

Collinsville 49, Coosa Chr. 0

Won by forfeit over Parkway Chr. 

Appalachian 46, Coosa Chr. 0

Donoho 46, Coosa Chr. 6

Westbrook 41, Coosa Chr. 6

Coosa Chr. 47, JCA 14

Akron 34, Coosa Chr. 7

Ragland 54, Coosa Chr. 7

Coosa Chr. 42, JCA 6

Weaver 45, Coosa Chr. 6

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