PREP FOOTBALL: Bearcats chasing postseason return in 2021

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(Lifetouch Photography)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Football season has returned and at Cullman High School that means it’s time once again for the Bearcats to hit the field. Cullman posted an 8-3 record last season, finishing second in Region 8 and earning another playoff berth but the ‘Cats are aiming to do even bigger things in 2021. The Bearcats began fall practice a week early this year after foregoing their spring practice days and Head Coach Oscar Glasscock likes the way his team has gotten this season started

“I feel pretty good about where we are right now. Obviously, we’re trying to develop consistency and trying to find depth like everybody else is but it kind of feels like we got a week head start on everybody instead of feeling like we’re behind because we didn’t have spring practice,” Glasscock said. “We had a very productive summer, had some competitions and things like that and I feel like the younger kids got a lot stronger in the weight room. I feel like we’re in pretty good shape too, it was really, really hot our first week. By far the hottest, most humid time of this summer and I feel like we handled it well.”

One thing Glasscock and his staff are particularly excited about is the depth and experience returning on the offensive front. Carson Hill, Layne Dial, Drew Carter, Evan Richards and Lane Parker will all be bringing a wealth of experience up to the line of scrimmage with them this season and Glasscock is excited to see that unit play together.

“I think our offensive line this year should be the best group since I’ve been here. We’ve got guys that have played a lot of snaps and we’ve got some intelligent kids up there. Coach (Kyle) Morris moved over from defensive line to coach offensive line for the first time and we have Coach (Heath) Saint coaching our slots. We made some moves coaching-wise that I think have really helped us just get more eyes in the right places,” Glasscock said. “Carson Hill is a guy that’s started since the third game of his sophomore year, and he was ready mentally and spiritually in every way, but he probably wasn’t quite strong enough to be playing in 6A as a 10th grader. He had an outstanding year but now I think his strength has caught up to where his mind, his character and his work ethic have been the whole time. He really provides a lot of stability at Center. Evan Richards gets a lot of attention because of his measurables. He’s got to work on his consistency, but he can dominate the game when things are going his way. We’re really looking for big things from him and Drew Carter will be our other Guard. (Drew) is a football player. He loves the game, loves practice, loves everything about it so we’re pretty solid on that interior. Our Tackles Layne Dial and Lane Parker have played a ton of meaningful snaps. Lane Parker has been a little bit more of a defensive guy and he’s really come on here lately. He’s really going to help us there from an athletic standpoint. So, I feel really good about them, it’s a veteran group.”

Glasscock mentioned Kaleb Heatherly as a matchup problem on the outside and as an asset inside at tight end. Nate Zills, Tripp Gudger, Max Gambrill and Banks Baker were also named as weapons to watch on the perimeter at wide receiver this year and Glascock is excited about a group of talented guys returning in the back field as well.

“In the backfield at Fullback, we’ve got Drew Conway and he’s just a real solid guy and may be hardest working kid I’ve ever been around. As a practice player and in the game, he gives everything he has in in everything he does. He’s an outstanding blocker and he’s got some ability running the football,” Glasscock said. “Tyler Owens is a junior and he has a very different skill set, he’s more of an explosive runner and Evan Dye will get some carries so we’ve got several guys that can play in that position. In the slot Jake Dueland has obviously made game-winning plays around here for a long time and he’s going to touch the football. Noah Kee is an extremely hard worker as well and he’s got a lot of ability catching the football, running the football and blocking so he’s very versatile and he’s a team leader by his effort.”

Glasscock and his staff feel good about the other position in the backfield as well. There will be a new, but experienced, playmaker under center for the Bearcats this season and Glasscock is excited to see what he can do with the offense.

“At the quarterback position we’ve got two guys that we’re really happy with. Jamar Kay is going to take significant snaps at quarterback and of course Jamar is also our best corner, our best return guy, he’d be one of our best slot guys and anywhere you put him he’s going to be one our top players, so we have to be smart with how we play him,” Glasscock said. “He’s going to play quarterback in every game as long as he’s healthy and things go according to plan. Ryan Skinner has also been outstanding this fall. Ryan’s a very strong kid, he’s fast, he’s got a really good arm and he’s intelligent, but he just hasn’t played. There’s going to be a learning curve and Ryan is probably harder on himself than we are on him, so we just have to make sure he’s not putting too much pressure on himself. We feel good about having both of those guys.”

Fall camp has gone well for the ‘Cats so far and they’re set up to put another strong product on the field this fall but Glasscock has been most excited to see new faces from different Cullman sports teams come out to be part of the program.

“What I’m super happy about is we’ve had several seniors come out this year that haven’t played in high school before. They’ve played baseball and basketball primarily and I think it’s a testament to the program that we have kids like Hunter Brooks in his second year coming back to football, Max Gambrill has come back, Carter Gay hasn’t ever played and he’s out, Kaleb Heatherly has come back out, Cole Roberson is another kid that hasn’t played that has come out, Dylan Sessions came back out, Jack Stanford has come back out, Braxton Williams is playing for the first time,” Glasscock said. “Our senior class is actually bigger now than it was as a junior class last year. So, to me that means somethings right. Our baseball program has obviously been outstanding, and I think the kids are seeing the similarities in how our program is run. Me and Coach (Brent) Patterson work very well together and have the same philosophy on a lot of things and work our summer schedules together so that the kids don’t get burnt out. It’s just great to see these kids come out and contribute and I think that’s a good sign that things are moving in a positive direction around here.”

The last two seasons have been full of historic moments and firsts for the Bearcats as they continue to rack up wins in Class 6A and Glasscock is proud of his group for their accomplishments but he knows they’ll have to continue building on that success if they want to continue competing in their region.

“This group, especially this senior class, have been a part of a lot of milestone wins here. They achieved the first 6A top 10 ranking in school history, they were part of the 600th win in school history, part of beating the first 7A team in school history, they won eight games in 6A for the first time in school history, they tied for the best record in the region in 6A for the first time in school history, hosting 6A playoff games here two years in a row, getting the first 6A playoff win in school history,” Glasscock said. “Those are significant wins at a program that has a lot of great tradition so there’s been a lot of firsts here for us in this super competitive 6A and the region overall is going to be vastly improved and we’re going to have to play our absolute best every week to be competitive.”

2021 Cullman Football Schedule

Aug. 12: Arab (Jamboree)

Aug. 19: Grissom

Aug. 27: @ Jasper

Sept. 3: Hartselle*

Sept. 10: @ Buckhorn*

Sept. 17: @ Hazel Green*

Sept. 24: Mars Hill

Oct. 1: Decatur*

Oct. 8: @ Columbia*

Oct. 15: Athens*

Oct. 22: @ Muscle Shoals*

2021 Cullman Football Roster

#1 Nate Zills

#2 Carter Gay

#3 Patton Elkins

#4 Ryan Skinner

#5 Dylan Sessions

#6 Evan Dye

#7 Kaleb Bates

#8 Ben Washburn

#9 Jake Dueland

#11 Brody Foxx

#12 Conner Caviness

#15 Evan Johnson

#16 Elijah Hays

#17 Eli Calligaris

#18 Max Gambrill

#19 Kaleb Heatherly

#20 Tanner Gaines

#21 Jamar Kay

#22 Noah Kee

#23 Tyler Owens

#24 Cole Robertson

#25 Drew Conway

#26 Garrett Rester

#27 Carson Starnes

#28 Beckett Calvert

#29 Nick Holland

#30 Braxton Williams

#31 Isaac Jones

#32 Hunter Brooks

#33 Jack Stanford

#34 LJ Turner

#35 Wyatt Buchanon

#36 Patrick Adcock

#37 Garrett Hall

#38 Garrett Mobley

#39 Preston Gray

#40 Banks Baker        

#42 Sawyer Trimble   

#44 Drew Ball

#45 Isaac Jones

#46 Jackson Sessions

#47 Brody Hopper     

#50 Drew Carter

#51 Case Harris

#52 Carter Ziegenbein

#53 Mason Richards

#54 Carson Hill

#55 Hayden Wynn

#56 Sam Mayhair       

#58 Lane Parker         

#60 Houston Walton

#61 Layne Dial

#62 Mason Williams

#63 Evan Richards

#64 Levi Lynn

#65 Jared Shelton

#66 Pierce Bartle       

#68 Diego Chavez

#70 Jackson Bentley  

#77 Lance Larue                    

#80 John Dudley                    

#82 Trenton Clemmons                     

#85 Blake Cherry

#88 Tripp Gudger

#89 Reagan Ogstad

2021 Cullman Varsity Cheerleaders

Alayna Alldredge, Clancy Ayers, Ashlyn Danecker, Rachel Dueland, Addi Dyer, Reilly Eddleman, Ava Edens, Ava Claire Floyd, Anna Kate Jean, KaraLynn Kalhoff, KayTi Murillo, Emery Peed, Callie Smith, Savanah Stone, Aliya Timmons, Blaire Troutman, Lexie Anderson, Adyson Bauer, Amberly Brown, Maddie Doyle, Siddalee Drake, Kathryn Dueland, Chloe Echols, Anna Hill, Jacey Mickle, Emily Newman, Laney Pettus, Krislyn Scroggins, Lindsey Skinner, Emma Speakman, Lexi Sumrall, Adyson Wallace, Madeline Willingham and Maddie Witcher.

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