2019 High School Football Preview: Rod Cates putting his stamp on Conquerors

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COOSA CHRISTIAN SENIORS. Pictured, kneeling, from left: Adam Flannery, Carston Lipscomb, Dartavious Britton. Standing, from left: Reece Myrick, Clay West, Trevor Horn. (Photo by Chis Westcott) 

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

Let the Rod Cates Era begin.
Coosa Christian’s latest head football coach inherits a program that has made the postseason the past three years. The Conquerors went 7-4 and finished third in Class 1A, Region 6.
Cates served as coach of the Coosa boys junior varsity basketball team the past two seasons and ran the Westbrook Christian youth and middle school football programs for several years. He replaces Nevandra Woods, who led the Conquerors to an 11-11 record and consecutive playoff berths over the past two seasons.
“I just have a passion working with kids and I enjoy football,” he said. “I’m sure coaching at the varsity level will be a little different, but I’ve got a strong staff, and I think we’ll be fine. It was a little rocky at first with the guys getting used to me, but I think they’ve finally bought in and we’ve really progressed over the last few months. My main goal is to teach these kids how to be Godly men. Everything else will take care of itself.”
Although mindful of the program’s recent success, Cates pointed out that the team lost 12 seniors, most of whom played both ways.
“We’ll have a lot of ninth and tenth graders, so we won’t have a lot of experience. We’re sitting at around 20 to 22 players right now. Hopefully, we’ll be fast learners. We have a bunch of kids who are working hard and doing what we’re asking of them, so I’m happy with what we’ve got.”
Cates noted that since most of the roster will play both ways, he will place a premium on conditioning.
“We started getting ready in January, so hopefully we’ll be ready to play 48 minutes,” he said. “I think endurance-wise, right now we’re in decent shape.”
Offensively, Coosa possesses considerable firepower at both halfback and receiver with senior Dartavious Britton and junior Evan Delp, respectively. A four-year starter, Britton last season rushed for 1,514 yards and 15 touchdowns and caught 20 passes for 318 yards and three TDs. Delp was the team’s leading receiver with 38 receptions for 1,001 yards and 12 touchdowns.
“Both of those guys will be huge for us,” said Cates. “We’ve also added (junior) Isaiah Cole, and he should be a good addition at running back.”
Moving from safety to quarterback is senior Trevor Horn, who had 59 tackles last year. Horn also saw time at receiver in 2018.
“Trevor’s a dual-threat guy who has done really well so far,” said Cates. “He’s looked really good in the 7-on-7 [summer passing scrimmages], and we’re looking forward to how he reacts to game speed.”
Back at receiver is senior Carston Lipscomb, who had 17 catches for 247 yards and a 14.5 average.
The offensive line is a work in progress with only one returning starter in senior Reese Myrick.
“It’s mostly going to be ninth and 10th graders, but they’re doing well,” said Cates. “We’ve got a lot of work to do on the line of scrimmage, but it’s one of those years where we have to rebuild.”
Myrick, who last year finished with 44 tackles and eight sacks, will play at both defensive end and linebacker. Britton, who had 37 tackles at cornerback last season, moves to linebacker along with Lipscomb.
The secondary should be in good shape with the return of Horn (59 tackles last year) at safety and Delp (21 tackles) and junior Caddon Moore at cornerback.
Sharing Class 1A Region 7 with the Conquerors is Decatur Heritage, Falkville, Gaylesville, R.A. Hubbard, Valley Head and Woodville.
“R.A. Hubbard has a lot of guys back and should be really strong,” said Cates. “Falkville should still be at the top and Decatur Heritage should be solid.”

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