2023 High School Football Preview: Blue Devils “know what to expect” this season

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Messenger file photo by Chris McCarthy

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

From the look of things, it’s safe to assume that it will be business as usual at James Glover Field this fall.
Matt Glover’s first season as Etowah High head football coach resulted in an 8-4 record, the program’s seventh playoff victory over the past nine seasons and the team’s 13th consecutive year with a winning record. The Blue Devils have not missed the postseason since the 2009 season.
A three-point loss to Cherokee County in Week 9 denied Etowah the Region 6 title.
“The guys we’ve got are showing up and doing what we are asking them to do,” said Glover. “This year, our kids know what to expect and our coaches know what to expect when they go out there on the field. We’ve had a full off-season in the weight room with the kids, so we’ve gotten a lot stronger.”
The Blue Devils return seven starters on both sides of the ball. A few of those players will operate at new positions, such as quarterback Jameson Scissum. He played at receiver last season as a sophomore while backing up Trace Thompson, who finished his prep career with 6,011 passing yards and 63 touchdowns. Also a standout baseball player, Scissum was the MVP for the 2023 Class 4A state championship series, which the Blue Devils won.
“We’re going to be a big run-pass option team,” said Glover. “Trace was more of a between-the-tackle runner, where Jameson is going to be more of an outside-the-tackle runner. The good thing about Jameson is that he really hasn’t been in an offensive system yet, so he won’t be reverting back to old habits, which is kind of a good thing.”
Moving across the line of scrimmage will be 2022 All-Messenger lineman Braylen Mostella, who will line up at defensive end.
“Offensively, we’ve got to find out what we can do,” said Glover. “We’re going to do some things formation-wise to put teams into some binds. If what we’re trying doesn’t work, we’ll scrap it and go to something else. Defensively, we’re looking to change some things up because of the personnel we have.”
In terms of up and comers on the roster, Glover pointed to senior receiver Jalen Walker, junior linebacker Kacyn Nouns and junior offensive lineman Jalen Rear.
“Jalen plays basketball and is big, tall kid. I think he can be really, really good. Kacyn has really gotten a lot stronger, a lot more physical and he’s understanding the defense. I think he’s going to be really good. Jalen played JV player last year and will start at guard. He’s really done well for us so far.”
Etowah’s 4A, Region 6 slate includes Ashville, Fultondale, Good Hope, Oneonta, Hanceville and Cherokee County.
“Our region is really, really tough,” said Glover. “I think Cherokee County is going to be just as good as last year, and Oneonta has got a running back who’s as good as there is in the state. Plus, the other teams in our region are all looking better. We want to get better as the year goes on and make the playoffs. The ultimate goal is to play in December. It’s a daunting task, but it’s fun.”
Glover fully came to appreciate the level of community support during his first 12 months in Attalla.
“It’s an Alabama/Auburn-type mentality with the following we have. I couldn’t be more pleased in this school and this community. There are not many high schools where you’ve got 1,500 people in the stands of a baseball game like we had this year, and I think that’s carried over. We as coaches have been given everything we need to be successful, and it’s our job to make it happen.”
Lindsey Frazier contributed to this article.

 

 

 

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