PREP FOOTBALL: Broncos aiming to bounce back in 2021

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HOLLY POND, Ala. – Football season has arrived, and the Holly Pond Broncos have been preparing to hit the field with a new purpose and a new head coach this fall. Longtime Broncos assistant Mark Cornelius will be taking the reins this season following Chris Moss’ departure earlier this summer. Cornelius will be stepping into a new role this year and admits that it’s been a little bit of a stressful transition, but he’s been encouraged by the overwhelming support he’s received from the school, the team and the community.

“It’s been exciting, and I look forward to it. It’s been a little stressful and a little bit of a different role than what I’m used to as an assistant coach, but the community and our kids have been really helpful to me. A lot of people in the community have helped me out tremendously,” Cornelius said. “We’ve been able to put a staff together and they’re a group of good men that are working well with the kids and are knowledgeable about the game too. It has been a little bit on the stressful side but Mr. Miller and everybody here at the school and within the community have been very receptive.”

After a very limited offseason program in 2020, Cornelius says the Broncos were able to be much more productive this summer and got the chance to do more physical preparation for the upcoming season.

“It’s been a lot better. The uncertainty was the biggest thing last year, we never did know when or if we could be shut down like the spring sports the semester before. But this year the kids came in and were able to have a speed and agility camp and worked in the weight room extremely hard,” Cornelius said. “Before Coach Moss resigned, he had already set us up with Steve Johnson and Colton Terry to come in and do a lifting and speed and agility camp for six weeks and the majority of our kids went through that camp, and it was very beneficial for our team,” Cornelius said. “They got a tremendous amount out of that, so this summer was a lot better than last year. The uncertainty wasn’t there, we knew our season was going to take place and without any kind of added pressure they were able to come in and work and get ready for the season.”

Holly Pond will have some familiar names and faces retuning to the field this fall and the group that Cornelius might be the most optimistic about is his offensive skill players.

“I like our skill players coming back with the most experience. I have two quarterbacks that both rotated in and out last year, Austin Marsh and Landon Perkins, last year was both of those guys’ first year to play quarterback and it was a learning experience. They had some bumps and bruises, but I think they’ll take the experience they gained last year and the work they’ve done this summer and do some great things this season,” Cornelius said. “In the backfield I feel like we have a lot of experience coming back too. Kadin Suryono has been in the program his whole career; he’s going to be a senior and he’s a solid running back and linebacker for us and I think he’s going to do some great things. We were able to pick up Andy Light who’s been a great player in our baseball program. He came out this spring and he is also going to be in the backfield for us and he’s had a great spring and fall camp. One of our younger kids, Zayne Faulkner who is a ninth grader, is going to be in the backfield and he has all kinds of potential back there. I think with our receivers we’ve got some speed. For the size of our school, we’ve got some speed. Nik Goodwin is going to be a 10th grader and he’s a real athletic kid with some good speed. Hunter Farr is going to be a senior and last year Hunter won the county in the 110-meter sprint, and we got him to come out for football this year and he has done an outstanding job.”

At the same time, the Broncos have some spots to fill on the offensive front and finding the right guys to fill those roles has been a focus for Cornelius and his staff throughout fall camp.

“On the offensive line we only have one guy coming back, Christian Couch who’s going to be a junior. He started for us last year on the line but he’s the only one we have returning,” Cornelius said. “We have some ninth graders and some other kids that haven’t had a lot of experience on the line so it’s going to be big for us to help those guys come along and develop to help us be successful. They’re working hard and they’re doing what we ask them to do so I feel good about them but how our linemen develop will be a big factor in us being successful.”

The win-loss column has not filled out the way Holly Pond would like over the last couple seasons and Cornelius and his staff have plans to bounce back this year, but their primary focus is on building the character of their players and making sure they’re best equipped to succeed on the field and off of it.

“I think what we have to do to improve is just to be aware and do the little things right to take the next step and we tell the kids that all the time. We have to have attention to detail, and I know football coaches say that all the time but it’s so true. We have to do the little things right and can’t overlook anything,” Cornelius said. “Wins and losses will take care of themselves but the biggest thing for our kids is we want to see them give maximum effort and give us the best they can give us. We want them to compete and fight on every down until the horn blows and if we can do that, I’ll be happy with them. I’m as competitive as anybody and we want to win but we also want them to be good dads and good husbands when they leave this place. I think we’ll be very successful if we’re able to do those things.”

2021 Holly Pond Football Schedule

Aug. 20: Brindlee Mountain

Aug. 27: @ Cold Springs

Sept. 3: Oakman*

Sept. 10: @ J.B. Pennington*

Sept. 17: @ Carbon Hill*

Oct. 1: Tarrant*

Oct. 8: Winfield*

Oct. 15: Susan Moore*

Oct. 21: @ Vinemont*

Oct. .29: Fairview

2021 Holly Pond Football Roster

#1 Isaac Chambers

#2 Austin Marsh

#3 Landon Perkins

#5 Emery Barnett

#7 Jayden Holloway

#8 Nik Goodwin

#10 Kadin Suryono

#11 Brody Howard

#15 Sawyer Olinger

#16 Andy Light

#18 Zayne Faulkner

#21 Damien Raymond

#27 Daniel Hernandez

#30 Hunter Farr

#50 Kane Twilley

#51 Dawson Simmons

#52 Connor Smith

#54 Diego Arreguin

#55 Kaden Smith

#61 Patrick Snapp

#66 Austin Huddleston

#68 Aiden Rowe

#72 Brayden Mcneal

#74 Ronald Nunnelley

#75 Kyrian Grazer

#79 Xander Grazer

#81/67 Christian Couch

#82 Anthony Knopp

#89 Rory Thrift

2021 Holly Pond Varsity Cheerleaders

Taylor Simmons, Captain-senior Jenna Persall, Co-captain-senior Rebecca Bell-senior EmmaRay Spitzer-senior Addison Armstrong-senior Quincey Marks-senior Emma Leach-senior Madison Frnka-senior Aliyah Ryan-junior Maycie Black-sophomore Sarah Grace Brown-freshman Presli Carr-freshman Darla Frederick-freshman Ava Roper-freshman Halie Rice-freshman Michelle Hernandez-freshman Kiley Crenshaw-freshman Jayda Miller-freshman.

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