2016 Football Preview: Rusty Davis making his mark at Glencoe

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By Chris McCarthy
Publisher/Editor

Seven months into the job, Rusty Davis is settling in as head coach of his former high schools county rival.
A 1984 Hokes Bluff High graduate and former Eagle quarterback, Davis now wears the yellow, black and gold of the Glencoe Yellow Jackets.
Davis spent the past 24 years in various assistant coaching jobs at Smiths Station, a Class 7A school in Lee County near Auburn.
He also coached for two seasons at Woodward Academy, near Atlanta, Ga.
“I’ve always referred to Etowah County as home,” he said. “Now I hope to give back what it’s given to me all these years.”
Davis replaces Lee Ozmint, who resigned this past November after 10 seasons at GHS.
Davis is well aware of the program’s success over the past several years. The 2015 Yellow Jackets went 9-2 and finished second in Class 3A, Region 6 behind eventual state champion Piedmont.
After falling to the Bulldogs in Week 4, Glencoe closed out the regular season with six straight wins.
“These kids have been on a winning program, so they want to win,” said Davis. “That takes care of a lot. So I like where we are.
“I tell our kids that if they’re where they’re supposed to be when they’re supposed to be, that takes care of a lot of stuff.
“We’ve lost a lot of numbers, so that will take a lot of people playing both ways. We just have to be smart about how we rotate those guys.”
Senior Cole Holbrooks and junior Jacob Amberson are currently competing at quarterback.
“It’s neck and neck right now,” said Davis. “One of them has a good day and the next day the other one has a good day. They’re pushing each other, which is good because competition breeds excellence. Both of them bring something different to the table, so why not rely on their strengths?
“To start with, I could see us alternating at that position.”
Returning to the backfield is senior Austin Bush, who rushed for 580 yards and eight touchdowns last season.
“I can see Austin as being the main runner, but we do have some others who run well,” said Davis. “We’ll have to give him some rest, because he’ll have to play defense, too.”
Bush was an All-County pick at safety last season with 68 tackles, including 10 for a loss.
Davis views seniors Aaron Bush, Micah Sizemore, Dylan Billingsley and T.J. Woelfel and juniors Easton Foreman and Bradley Scott as key parts of the passing game.
Davis said the offensive line is a work in progress but that so far he likes what he sees.
“As far as effort, though, that group is giving us what we need,” said Davis. “With that, I think we can get to where we want to go.”
On the other side of the ball, seniors Coleman Morris (60 tackles in 2015) and Paul Hicks (42 tackles) will man the defensive line along with senior Dakota Colvin and junior Dawson Bass. Scott (63 tackles) is back at linebacker, with Holbrooks and junior Caleb Pentecost in the rotation.
The Bush brothers will anchor the secondary. Aaron had 67 tackles last year, seven for a loss.
Junior Katie Smith, who saw action in several games last season, will be the kicker. She also is a starter on the school’s soccer team, so Davis is confident in both her distance and accuracy.
“Katie’s very consistent and she works on her kicking all the time,” said Davis.
Assistant coaches are Evan Talbot, Jimmy Benson, Jason Gilley, Skylar Deerman, Chase Robertson, Charlie Robertson, Wes Weems, Richard Johnson and Chance Payne.
Along with Glencoe and the aforementioned Piedmont, Class 3A, Region 5 includes Ohatchee, Pleasant Valley, Randolph County, Walter Wellborn and Weaver.
“I think we’re playing in probably the toughest region in 3A,” said Davis. “Week in and week out, it’s going to be a battle. We won’t have any games where we can rest, that’s for sure.”
Davis is looking forward to traveling to his old stomping grounds on Sept. 23.
“(Hokes Bluff head coach) Mike (Robertson) does a good job and did a lot for me when I played for him. It’s probably one of the top rivalries in north Alabama. It should be interesting.”

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