PREP FOOTBALL: Cold Springs ‘ready to win’ under the lights this fall

(Don Fewell Photography)

BREMEN, Ala. — Cold Springs came just short of making it to the postseason under first-year head coach Justin Cornelius, finishing 4-6 in a year that was tough for all of the teams due to COVID-19. Despite losing some key players from last season, the Eagles will look to get some huge contributions from some new players in 2021 in hope of making it to the playoffs.

Cornelius learned a lot from his first year as head coach and he and his team are using that as motivation for this upcoming season. 

“I have to cherish this moment because it can be gone in an instant,” Cornelius said. “Our approach this year is the same. We have to work harder and get better. Our motto this is year is, ‘Team over Me’ and ‘Pound the Stone’.”

Some key players will be returning to the field this year and Cornelius will look to them for leadership.

“Across the line, we have three linemen that have significant playing time; Zeke White, Sawyer Swann and Grayson Phillips,” Cornelius said. “And then Caleb McClendon is coming off an injury sustained last season. Out at receiver we have Seth Williams, Cameron Nunn, Dylan Smith and Houston Goodwin. Those guys will help out significantly at linebacker and defensive back as well. The two guys that have been working hard at quarterback since we started this spring are Hank Harrison and Tucker Philbeck. They are both very eager to absorb and work hard. One is a little more of a hardnosed guy and the other has a little bit bigger of an arm.”

Harrison and Philbeck learned a lot from four-year starter Brodi Williams and Cornelius is looking for some good things out of his two junior quarterbacks this season.

“Having a four-year starter was a great opportunity for them to see him grow and develop into the guy he was last year,” Cornelius said. “They had the opportunity to learn the offense without having the pressure to run it. I think they were able to get a very good understanding of the offense and what it takes to compete on Friday nights in Alabama.” 

Fall workouts started a few days ago for Cold Springs and Cornelius saw a lot of good things. He had to fill some holes as well as he lost a lot of key players.

“Things are going very well. The kids have a positive attitude and understand that we are here to get better every day. We lost a lot in other places besides quarterback,” Cornelius said. “At running back, we lost a two-time All-State player, we have been working Josh Winfrey and he is doing well. At receiver we lost An All-County guy and have some guys ready to step up and fill that position. We lost three guys on the line for us and are really working on building depth there. We also lost Roberto Ayala. That was our utility guy last year, he was also a two-time All-State player. He played all over the place, and it will take a few kids to fill the vacancy left by him.”

With the pandemic starting to wreak havoc once again, Cornelius believes that his team and the community will rise to the occasion and do what they can to stay safe.  

“It is the ‘Team over Me’ mentality that we talk about,” Cornelius said. “Protect the team. Sometimes, that means doing things we don’t really want to do. Sometimes that means missing out on opportunities. I was telling them the other it’s about choices, consequences and rewards. No matter what decision we make, no matter what the outcome is, we have to live with the consequences good or bad. When you take a risk outside of here, you are risking everything in here as well. I just wanted them thinking about the choices they make, because when they graduate from Cold Springs, they will have to make decisions on a daily basis that involve much more than them.” 

Cold Springs fell just short of the postseason last season and Cornelius will look to see his team gel together as a unit and get some more wins and clinch a playoff berth. Or as he said, maybe a perfect season will be really good.

“Is anything other than a perfect season really up to a coach’s liking?” Cornelius asked. “It starts with me, the coaching staff and bubbles over to the team. We have to ensure that each and every day, we are prepared and motivated to win. We have to grind and put in the work. Our approach was modified last year, that’s no excuse. We have to get each kid on our team ready to win, physically and mentally prepared. We have to trust each other and trust the process. We have to go to work and understand that our opponent cannot out-work us. They cannot be hungrier than us. When we get hit in the mouth with adversity, we have to get back up and go even harder the next time. Preparation, preparation and more preparation. We don’t go until we get it right, we go until we can’t get it wrong.” 

2021 Cold Springs Football Schedule

Aug. 20: @ Meek

Aug. 27: Holly Pond

Sept. 3: @ Sulligent*

Sept. 17: Aliceville*

Sept. 24: @ Falkville

Oct. 1: Addison*

Oct. 8: Midfield*

Oct. 15: Winston County*

Oct. 22: @ Lamar County*

Oct. 29: @ Vinemont

2021 Cold Springs Football Roster

#1 Tucker Philbeck

#2 Brodie Gable

#3 Matthew Williams

#4 Brady Phillips

#5 Victor Laurentius

#6 Hunter Parker

#7 Cameron Nunn

#8 Hank Harrison

#11 Hunter Calvert

#13 Neyemiah Tolbert

#15 Mason Gable

#17 Seth Williams

#20 Landon Bishop

#21 Houston Goodwin

#22 Josh Winfrey

#25 Dylan Smith

#44 Kaiden Graves

#48 Alex Curd

#51 Sam Gable

#54 Caleb McClendon

#55 Tyler Lively

#56 William Jackson

#58 Zeke White

#61 Devon Johnson

#62 Cody Jewell

#63 Sawyer Swann

#65 Cooper Davis

#70 Tristin Jewell

#72 Trey Bailey

#79 Grayson Phillips

2021 Cold Springs Varsity Cheerleaders

Billie Tucker, Katie Jewell, McKinna Duke, Jozie Tucker, Cara Farrior, Alaina Gorse, Lexi Hallmark, Sydney Jewell, Hope Speegle, Cheslee Black, Jayden Williams, Hali Price, Hayla Watson and Kaylee Donovan .

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