2018 Cold Springs Eagles football team, coaches and cheerleaders (McEachern Photography)
BREMEN – The 2017 season was one that the Cold Springs Eagles would like to forget and after spring training, summer workouts and fall camp, head coach Rod Elliott is confident that his team will bounce back this year. Elliott has seen his kids work hard this offseason in preparation for 2018 and is excited to see a core group of leaders step up.
“It’s really gone well, we had great participation during our summer workouts and practices,” Elliott said. “We’ve got a strong group of seniors this year and their leadership has been really good, so we’re excited about that this year.”
There was a lot of youth on the field last year for Cold Springs and the Eagles came up short in a lot of games, but Elliott is excited to see what this group can do with game experience under its belt. Elliott knew that experience would be critical for his team this fall.
“We’ve got a lot of kids back from last year. We played a lot of kids last season kind of preparing for this year. We took a step back last year and it’s the first time I’ve had a team that didn’t do better than the year before,” Elliott said. “Of course, we missed the playoffs last year for the first time in four years, but we got to play a lot of guys and started working toward this year. The inexperience on our team is going to be on the offensive line. Most all of the other spots have kids that played varsity football last year and played quite a bit, so that’s good.”
Cold Springs had a lot of young faces carrying the rock in 2017 and all of them will be returning to the Eagles’ backfield this fall. Cold Springs’ offense is built on the running game and after it averaged just seven points per game last season, Elliott expects his offense to improve in a big way this year.
“The backfield will be the strength of our team. They’re a year older, most of them couldn’t even drive last year, but this year they’re driving and they’re really good players,” Elliott said. “They were just young last year and put into a situation that we don’t like to put kids in, to be honest with you. They had to play before they were ready to play, but they showed up. I think they’re ready to play this time around and I’m real excited about this group.”
Senior tight end Francisco Ayala said he and the Eagles have been working on strength and conditioning all offseason, but a more specific focus has been the passing game.
“We’ve been working more on passing and trying to get stronger in that area. We’ve also just been running, trying to get bigger and stronger so we can run it down the middle,” he shared.
Even though the Eagles are coming off a down year, Ayala and his team’s goals are still the same.
“We want to try and make it to the playoffs this year,” Ayala said. “We didn’t have a good year last year, but our goal is still to make it to the playoffs.”
As a senior on this Cold Springs team, Ayala has had to step up into more of a leadership role and mentor the younger players on the roster.
“We just try to show them what to do and how to get better and what to do on each play, just trying to teach them to be smarter about everything,” he said.
Despite coming up short more than they wanted to last season, the Eagles look to be in good shape to turn things around in 2018, and their goals haven’t changed. Elliott knows that numbers are a big factor at a smaller school and is excited to hit the field now that he has a lot of experienced players returning to the lineup.
“Every year our goal is to make the playoffs, and we’ve been pretty successful at that over the past several years. We had two graduating classes before last year that were really big, and at a small school you can feel the numbers crunch a little bit. Sometimes we can’t overcome two graduating classes with 13 and 15 players in it in a two-year span,” Elliott said. “Last year we had to play some kids that, like I said, weren’t quite ready to play yet, but they got a lot of valuable experience that should pay off this year and our goal this year is to make the playoffs, like every year.”
2018 Cold Springs football schedule
Aug. 23 v. Meek
Aug. 31 v. Berry
Sept. 7 at Southeastern
Sept. 14 v. Sumiton Christian
Sept. 21 at Aliceville
Sept. 28 at Appalachian
Oct. 12 v. Winston County
Oct. 19 at Tarrant
Oct. 26 v. Sulligent
Nov. 1 at Vinemont
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