Monday, August 19, 2013

Volunteers Want More than Round 2

Football 2013
Story and Photos
by Kelly Caldwell

Central High School of Clay County Volunteers might have a new head coach in their second season, but the coach isn't worried about missing a beat.
"Last year Coach Steve Giddens was the perfect choice for starting this program," Volunteers head coach Kris Herron said. "He had a unique perspective that no one else really had."
Giddens played high school football at Clay County High School and was the head coach for the Lineville Aggies for 13 years.
"He knew where people from both schools  were coming from when the schools combined to form Central High School," Herron said. "And I don't know anyone else like that. He understand what both sides were going through."
Giddens resigned as head football coach in June and was named principal a few weeks later. He will remain as athletic director for Central High School of Clay County.
Herron was the defensive coordinator in his first year with the Volunteers after leading the Clay County Panthers for the previous three seasons.
"He was great to me," Herron said. "He always asked my opinion, we didn't always agree but he was super to me.
"We really aren't going to miss a beat as far as coaching is concerned," Herron said. "We are used to winning and we want to build on the excitement of last season."
The Volunteers won the region last season but fell short in the second round of the playoffs.
"Obviously, we ended a little short of what we ideally wanted, but it was a very successful year." Herron said.
The volunteers graduated 21 seniors from last year's squad.
"We lost a lot of good football players and we only have about 11 starters returning this year," Herron said. "We have 13 seniors on this squad which is a small class. They all played a lot last year, but we are going to have some question marks for sure.
"It will be a different team than last year and we have to establish our identity," he said. "That's true for every team, but this group is doing what they need to do to prepare. We had a good spring and summer workouts have gone well so far."
The Volunteers do have a lot of game experience returning including quarterback Anthony Wood.
"He got good playing time last year," Herron said. "Coach Burns did a great job of working him into situations last season before the game was in hand. So Anthony got to feel that game on the line pressure, which will benefit us this year."
Nic Lett returns for his senior season on the offensive line and Herron will be relying on him to provide needed leadership on a young line.
"That's where we are young and small," Herron said. "But Lett and Devin Denny both have experience on the line and we will be counting on them to lead the line."
The Volunteers will rely on Chris Briskey and JoJo Staples in the receiver position while Jaylon Lyles will fill the running back/tailback slot.
"We expect them to make some plays for us when the opportunity is there," Herron said. "Jaylon saw some quarterback action last year, but we are going to be using him more at running back this season. He is a good downhill runner."
On defense, the Volunteers have a few more returning starters.
"Payton Reynolds saw a lot of playing time last year as a sophomore and he returns as one of our linebackers," Herron said. "Then DeAndra Wills returns at tight end and defensive tackle. We are looking for big things from him on both sides of the ball. He will be a big part of our team's success this season."
Deidric Rutledge also returns for his senior season at cornerback.
"Deidric got hurt last year in Montgomery (during the pre-season game) and didn't play a down the rest of the season. He has come back from his foot injury and is ready for his senior year," Herron said.
The Volunteers open the season on the road against Trinity.
"They won't do things to hurt themselves," Herron said. "We will have to be on our game right out of the shoot."
Central High School of Clay County begins region play at home on September 6 against Dallas County.
"We don't know a lot about them this year because they have a new coach," Herron said. "But one thing I do know, the home stands will be packed for the region opener.
"The fans last year were incredible. Players and coaches feed off that energy," he said. "We had exceptional crowds last year and we are very fortunate to have that support.
The schedule gets tougher after week 5, when the Volunteers will play Childersburg, Handley and Beulah before closing region-play with Dadeville.
"Hopefully when we get to the second half of the season we are still in contention for one of those top playoff spots," Herron said.


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