FOOTB ALL PREVIEW: Copiah Academy Colonels

Colonels open season with jamboree; seasoned vets anchor offensive line

By James Beasley
The Copiah Academy Colonels begin their 2012 football season knowing they have some big shoes to fill. Gone are Kelton Smith, the explosive running back who is now playing at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, and seasoned quarterback Barron Miller, who signed with Gulf Coast Community College. Head coach Scotty Cline will find out a lot about some of his untested players during Thursday night’s annual Football Jamboree in Gallman. Recently he paused to talk about the upcoming season.
“We have a lot of holes to fill,” the 31-year-old CA and Delta State alumnus admitted. “As always, our goal is to win it all, and we’ll have to do that one game at a time.”
Copiah is coming off last year’s 6-5 record that left them just short of making the playoffs. Once again the Colonels will compete in the MAIS District AAA Division II along with East Rankin, Hillcrest Christian, and Starkville Academy. Cline sees East Rankin and Starkville as the teams to beat, but is hoping CA will be in the thick of things come playoff time.
“Our biggest strength is our offensive line’s experience,” the coach says. “Four of the five are returning starters, and all of them are seniors.” The starting lineup will include Mason Boone at center, Doug Strait and Michael Nunnery at guards, and Ty Quick and Jake Risher at the tackle positions.
“We have new faces at some important positions,” Cline acknowledges. “Our receivers have shown good hands in practice, and our quarterback is throwing the ball well, even though he’s a 10th-grader. He’s going to be OK.” Cline was referring to sophomore signal caller Ryan Drew along with starting wide receivers Bryce Berry and Dillon Martin, and subs Austin Stringer and Peyton Murphy. Junior Justin Edwards will open at tight end. All others are seniors except Murphy, who’s just a sophomore.
The coach will rotate running backs, with senior Sam Stevens and junior Grant Anderson getting the start at tailback and fullback, respectively. Also slated to see plenty of action is senior Luke Peavey and junior Thomas Roberson. Roberson will handle the placekicking and kickoff duties, while Doug Strait will return as punter. Grant Anderson will serve as long snapper.
According to Cline, Quick and junior Trent Boone will man the defensive end positions, while Nunnery and sophomore Alex Skinner will start at defensive tackle. Linebackers will include Martin, Strait, Edwards, and Roberson. At cornerback will be Murphy and Stringer, while Berry will start at free safety.
Rounding out the 24-man roster are seniors Devin Faulkner (WR/DB) and Will Smith (TE/LB); juniors Tyler Dear (RB/LB), Wes Beasley (FB/LB), and Will Whittington (OL/LB); and sophomores Abraham Handal (RB/LB) and Tyler Lott (WR/DB).
Cline, now in his 9th year at Copiah Academy and his 6th as head coach, will have plenty of help. Joey Hydrick will return as offensive coordinator and coach the 7th grade team. Chad Crowe will coach the offensive and defensive lines and also serve as head coach of the junior high team. Also returning is offensive assistant Kent Chamblee. Newcomers include defensive assistant Stephen Cooksey and special teams coach Mitchell Holloway.
Student trainers are Libby Adams and Sidnie Stephens. Serving as managers will be Corey McKinney, Michael Cliburn, Benja Toney, Buck Risher, Braxton Cooksey, and Ian McNeill.
Colonel fans can catch a glimpse of this year’s team Thursday, August 9, at the Jamboree. Action will get underway at 4:00 PM. Participating schools include Canton Academy, Trinity Episcopal, ACCS, Central Hinds, Amite School, River Oaks, MRA, and Copiah. The Colonels are scheduled to scrimmage River Oaks at 5:30 and one of the MRA teams at 7:30 PM.
CA will host Oak Forest on August 17 in the season opener for both teams. Kickoff is set for 7:00 PM in Gallman.
Copiah Football Jamboree
Thursday, August 9, 2012
4:00    Canton v TE
4:30    River Oaks v MRA 1
5:00    ACCS v MRA 2
5:30    Copiah v River Oaks
6:00    Canton v ACCS
6:30    MRA 1 v Central Hinds
7:00    ASC v TE
7:30    Copiah v MRA 2
8:00    ASC v Central Hinds

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