ENTHUSIASM ENLIVENS COOSA COACH JOEY MATHIS’ VOICE when he starts talking about the offseason and summer the Eagles’ football program has had.
“It’s just been a tremendous offseason. I’ve said it about 100 times already, but our attitude and our effort have been super,” Mathis says. “We started to close the gap against other teams last season, and we are working on trying to put four quarters together. Our staff also has done a great job helping to develop some depth, because last year we had a lot of kids that had to play offense, defense, and special teams and that’s a lot to ask.”
Many of Coosa’s hopes to improve from last season start by eliminating some of the mistakes. Mathis points out that he wants every Coosa offensive possession to end in a kick. Whether it’s a punt, field goal, or point after attempt, he doesn’t want the squad to turn the ball over.
“Now that we have helped create some depth, I think we need to work on some of the things that we can control. We need to eliminate turnovers,” he says. “We had a lot of great drives last year that we didn’t get anything out of, so we need to work on that. We also need to work on limiting explosive plays on defense and really focus on stopping the other team on third downs.”
By working on these aspects, the squad can focus on a goal that every team wants and that is to make the playoffs.
“Making the playoffs is the goal ever since we have been here. I believe you create your own luck, and the harder you work the luckier you get,” Mathis says. “We kind of feel like the number three and four spots in the region are a bit wide open this season, and we’re hoping that we can make the plays to possibly get us in position for one of those playoff spots.”
To do that, several players will need to continue to play hard, and Mathis names several key players for the Eagle this season.
“Harrison East is going to be a player we rely on a lot on both offense and defense,” he says. “Connor Soales is a 6-6, 300-pound lineman with some college offers, and he’s going to be big for us too.”
Other players Mathis mentions are Jyshughn Turner, Lavanye Millsap, Pacey Smith, and Jaylen Worfford.
He also jokes that he has three different sets of brothers who are all going to be seeing the field for the Eagles this season.
“Sometimes it can be hard trying to keep track of everyone who is in or out when you have so many brothers playing for you,” he says.
Along with not making mistakes and taking care of business, Mathis says he thinks team chemistry will play a huge role in this year’s squad.
“I’ve always said team chemistry is very important. I think our team chemistry is great. Our seniors have done a great job of leadership. I’ve got a tremendous staff, and they do such a great job building relationships between us and our kids,” he says. “The players know we care about them, and they know we want to push them sometimes beyond where they can go themselves.”
And it’s that chemistry, team bond, and work that has Mathis and company excited for what the 2023 season has in store.