PREP FOOTBALL: New and old faces ready to step up for Broncos in 2019

2019 Holly Pond Football Team. (Sullivan Photography)

HOLLY POND, Ala. – The Holly Pond Broncos are coming off their third consecutive trip to the postseason this fall, but they’ll be looking to replace seniors in the backfield, the line of scrimmage, linebacking corps and everywhere in between.

Holly Pond Head Coach Mike Bates has several spots to fill before week one, but he said the holes standing out to him are up front.

“We’ve got two starters coming back on offense and two starters back on defense. Some of the obvious guys you think of from last year are Jeremiah (Holmes), you think of Alex Corneglio and Tyler Boatright and Brody Rowell and guys like that. We’ll miss those guys don’t get me wrong, but you know Isaac Schwaiger, Colyn Cofield and Jacob Ring and our offensive line and linebackers and people like that, those guys will be severely missed,” Bates said. “They were tough competitors that kind of set the tone for us. They weren’t afraid of contact, weren’t afraid of a challenge and those guys are the really hard ones to replace.”

The numbers are down a little bit for Holly Pond this season, but Bates has already seen good things out of the group they have. Attendance in the offseason has been great and Bates and his stuff are anxious to get to work with the group they have.

“There’s good and bad news, I think. The biggest disappointment I think is our numbers are way down after three really good years. We lost several kids that either didn’t come back out or didn’t stay with it or whatever so we’re probably looking at about 25 kids which is tough to play with in our league but the good news is we’ve averaged about 22 kids per night in the weight room,” Bates said. “So, just about everybody that’s playing has been 100% here for the summer workouts. So, there’s good and bad in that and one thing I always tell our coaches is ‘We can only coach the guys we got.’ It’s hard to coach those guys that aren’t playing.”

One of those guys that will be playing is senior quarterback Kyler Chaney. Chaney has been the signal-caller for the Broncos for several years now and his role may even grow during his senior campaign.

“Kyler’s such a competitor and the thing about him is we just want to keep him healthy because he’s probably going to start on both offense and defense this year. Our numbers are going to dictate that, and skill will dictate that too because he’s probably as good a defender as we have. We may even move him around to linebacker before it’s over with, we’ll have to wait and see,” Bates said. “That’s a lot of licks for an option quarterback to take playing linebacker too so we’re hoping someone can come through and take some pressure off that and we’ve got some candidates that can do that. We’d love to keep playing (Kyler) at free safety a little bit more but we’ve had a young kid come through there, Landon Perkins, that has stepped up his game so I think he has a chance to take over that spot and do well.”

The priority is always running the football at Holly Pond but this year, the Broncos’ personnel may dictate some offensive adjustments. Bates believes the group of linemen he has up front and the players he has in the backfield fit more of a power style of running game.

“I think we’re a little bit bigger and more physical than we have been so some of the things that we’ve done where we relied on our quickness more may not be as prevailing as they were. We’re still going to try and do everything that we do but I think there are some places where we might be a little better with power than quickness,” Bates said. “We might have to adjust some things like that but we’ve got some young guys like Gavin Phillips and Jacob Persall and Jebb Bryan, those three guys are all new but they’ve all three got a little bit of talent and I think they’ll all help us on the interior. Todd Sears is another young lineman we’re counting on and the only starter back on that front is Colin Leathers and he is everything that high school football is supposed to be. He’s a kid that’s restricted a little talent-wise, but he is not restricted when it comes to hard work and heart. He has made himself into a football player and as a matter of fact he’s going to be one of our team captains this year.”

Bates is very optimistic about the group of guys he’ll have on the field this year and believes the biggest challenge for himself and his coaches this season is keeping everyone healthy for Friday nights.

“A lot of these guys followed those other leaders that we had, and I think some of them were paying attention and they’ll develop into leaders. It can be kind of a culture that you develop. They understand that hard work is what’s important and I think our challenge as coaches is to find a way to practice with this number of kids and still be physical but be smart and not get guys hurt at practice or anything like that,” Bates said. “So, those are the challenges we’re looking at and if these guys are as quality kids as I think they are, then as long as we stay healthy, I think we’ll stay competitive. I don’t know what that means win-wise but if we stay healthy, I think we can be competitive and like anybody if we get the wrong injuries, we could struggle. But, I’m really high on this group as far as what they can do it’s just a question of being smart and getting our physical work in a way that we don’t lose kids during the week.”

With Chaney returning under center and some promising young athletes on the offensive front, the running game should be there for the Broncos once again, but they’ll need to stay healthy to take a run at a fourth straight postseason berth.

Holly Pond (Class 3A, Region 5)

2018 record: 6-5 (3-3)

2018 opponents Record: 50-66

Averaged 23.3 points per game, allowed 18.6 points per game. 2018 season ended with first round playoff loss at Geraldine.

Mike Bates entering seventh season as head coach.

Departing seniors: Isaac Ludwig, Rip McBee, Jeremiah Holmes, Alex Corneglio, Garrett Rowell, Tyler Boatright, Caleb Lambert, Jordan McCormick, Jacob Ring, Riley Gillilam, Isaac Schwaiger, Colyn Cofield.

2019 Schedule

Aug. 23r – @ New Hope

Aug. 30t – vs. Ider

Sep. 6t – @ Midfield *

Sep. 13t – vs. Hanceville *

Sep. 20t – vs. Fultondale *

Sep. 27t – @ Danville

Oct. 4t – @ Locust Fork *

Oct. 11t – vs. JB Pennington *

Oct. 25t – @ Vinemont *

Nov. 1s – vs. Fairview

Holly Pond Quarterback Kyler Chaney. (Nick Griffin for The Cullman Tribune)

Holly Pond Varsity Cheerleaders

Aliyah Ludwig, Kylee Miller, Taylor Simmons, Jenna Persall, Emma Leach, Kaci Creel, Breanna Whitehead and Ashlyn Smith, Megan Adkins, Bria Springer, Whitley Hill, Autumn Sears and Cayleigh Garrett

2019 Holly Pond Football Roster

No.      Name                         Grade

1          Isaac Chambers           10

2          Austin Marsh              9

3          Landon Perkins           10

6          Jayden Perkins            11

8          Braydon Cason           9

10        Kadin Suryono            10

11        Charlie Huddleston     11

12        Kyler Chaney              12

13        Josh McGinnis            10

15        Brandon Holmes         11

16        Zach White                 11

17        Jacob Holderfield       11

20        Victor Diaz                 9

21        Lane Tipton                11

30        Micah Faulkner           12

34        Levi Boatright             11

42        Andy Garcia                10

50        Seth Whiting               10

51        Jeb Brian                    10

60        Tyler Suryono             11

61        Gavin Phillips              11

62        Todd Sears                 10

68        Colin Leathers            12

70        Brayden Jeffries          9

78        Jacob Persall              11

88        Anthony Knopp          10

89        Dalton Bryon              12

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