BY JAMES BEASLEY
The Copiah Academy Colonels have already lost their starting quarterback, and football season hasn’t even begun. But CA head coach Scotty Cline, now in his fourth season at the helm, believes his team has what’s needed to overcome the loss of senior signal-caller Devin Harper, who suffered a broken leg and fractured hand in a car wreck two weeks ago.
“It’s a shame when that happens to someone who’s worked as hard as he has,” Cline said on the final morning of two-a-day practices. “It’s tough when one of your team leaders goes down. But we’ve got a good group of seniors. They’ve kept everything together since Devin got hurt.”
Two other Colonels are also injured: Ty Quick (hand) and Barry Blackwell (back). The coach is hoping both will be ready for the start of the season. With just 23 on the varsity roster, the team staying healthy is his biggest concern.
Copiah is trying to rebound after going 3-7 last year and missing the playoffs for the first time in seven years. They will be competing against district foes East Rankin Academy, Hillcrest Christian School, and Starkville Academy. According to Cline, East Rankin is the team to beat.
The coach was pleased with the team’s summer conditioning program in the weight room and on the track. “We had good participation and a good work ethic,” he reported.
“As always, our goal is to win the district, and go play for the state (championship),” the 30-year-old CA alumnus continued. “We’ve had a good run the last seven years, slipped up a little bit last year, and want to get back.”
Helping the Colonels accomplish that will be the projected starters: junior tight end Dillon Martin, senior wide receiver/cornerback Barry Blackwell, senior tailback/free safety Kelton Smith, senior wide receiver/cornerback Adam Pitts, senior wingback/linebacker Peyton Whitehead, senior quarterback/linebacker and newcomer Barron Miller, junior linebacker Sam Stevens, sophomore defensive tackle Justin Edwards, senior left tackle/defensive end Ty Quick, junior center Mason Boone, junior right guard/linebacker Doug Strait, junior right tackle/defensive end Taylor Smith, junior left guard Jake Risher, and sophomore defensive tackle/snapper Grant Anderson. Senior newcomer Brandon Baker will handle the kicking duties, assisted by sophomore holder Mason Ferrell, while Doug Strait will return as punter.
Others on the roster include senior wide receiver/defensive back and newcomer Devin Faulkner, sophomore tight end/linebacker Will Smith, sophomore offensive/defensive lineman Trent Boone, senior offensive/defensive lineman Andrew Cooper, sophomore offensive/defensive lineman Thomas Roberson, and junior offensive/defensive lineman Chase Watkins.
Cline is head coach and also serves as defensive coordinator. Phillip Ducomb (quarterbacks/running backs) and Kent Chamblee (wide receivers/defensive backs) are returning as assistant coaches. New assistants include Chad Crowe (offensive line/head JV coach), Zach Rogel (wide receivers/defensive backs/assistant JV coach), and CA alumnus Joey Hydrick (offensive coordinator). In addition, 2010 CA graduate and Co-Lin student Brandon Blakeney will serve as a coach’s assistant.
Read more in this week’s edition of the Copiah County Courier