‘New’ coach, tough schedule await Cobras
Things have changed in the Cobra football program at Wesson since last November when the Cobras lost in the first round of the 2A playoffs to North Forrest. A new senior class takes over, of course, and some fresh underclassmen faces have joined the squad. The most significant change comes at the top.
Ronald Greer, a 17 year coaching veteran and most recently the principal of Wesson Attendance Center, takes over as head coach after former coach Tommy Clopton was named to the same position at Brookhaven High School in the spring.
Greer, however, is no ‘spring chicken’ when it comes to Cobra football. He was on the Cobra staff for nine years before being promoted to principal and giving way to Clopton in 2004.
He hasn’t officially coached, since.
“When Tommy was hired, I decided to get out of coaching for a while. So, its been eight years,” Greer said. He didn’t let that stop him from being part of the game, however. Greer has attended most, if not all, Wesson football games since–and also basketball, baseball, softball and others–and has served as game administrator for dozens of them. “I still cheered on the players and coaches from the stands and so forth,” he added.
Starting his 18th season has been a blessing, Greer explains. “I feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven,” he said. “And, not much has changed in eight years. We still are a blue-collar coaching staff with a blue-collar work ethic. The players will still be hungry to get after it on Friday night,” he added.
Joining Greer on staff are five veteran assistants who have been with the Cobras for several years: Hugh Allen Knight, Seth Lofton, Ricky Gunter, Philip Knight and Rob Channell. “It helps to have that continuity from one season to the next. Plus, we all coach every aspect of the game,” Greer said.
The Cobras will be a little more balanced in their offensive attack this season, Greer explained. Does that mean a more vertical passing game is in store for the Cobras? “We’ll throw it more than we have in the past, but don’t expect us to line up 5-wide and chunk the ball downfield every down,” Greer chuckled.
The Cobras will have several gaps to fill on offense after graduation in May 2012. A new quarterback will take over, and right now, the battle is between junior Bailey Warren and sophomore Tyler Christmas. Tailbacks include Antonio Miller, Jay Haynes and Michael Hauer. Fullback duties will be performed by Nick Lewis, Otis Smith and Enrique Smith. Wingbacks are Chris Craft, Zach Luke and newcomer Koy McFarland.
Offensive linemen paving the way for the Cobra offense are: tackles Cullen Greer, Adam Hamilton and Chase Twiner; guards are Cory McPherson and Ryan Spear; and, at center, Mitchell Hughes.
Ferrod Green, Alex Smith and Trey Chaisson are the receiving corps. The tight end position will be filled by Quenton Lindsey.
Defensively, the Cobras are looking at multiple fronts, Greer said. Greer and Spear are the tackles. Lewis and Javar Smith are the defensive ends.
The linebacking corps is the most veteran on defense. Outside linebackers include Haynes, Craft, Chaisson and Luke. Inside linebackers are Lindsey and Otis Smith.
Warren, Alex Smith, Miller, Hauer and Christmas will all rotate in the secondary.
Kickoff , extra-point and field goal duties will be handled by Luis Melledo. Punting will be done by Warren. Justin Boone handles long-snapping duties.
The players came into camp in good shape, too. “We had 35 players who made all 17 mandatory workouts this summer. Many of those made over 20, so they’ve worked hard,” Greer explained.
The schedule for the Cobras is going to be tough, Greer said. “Every game will be a battle,” he said.
The non-conference slate alone is enough to scare Cobra fans. The Cobras open at Crystal Springs this Friday night, then host North Pike on August 24. Wesson travels to Mize on August 31, hosts Seminary on September 7 and plays at West Marion on September 14. Smack dab in the middle of the schedule is an open date. “We will definitely need the break before starting division play,” Greer said.
Homecoming will be held on September 28 against 6-2A foe Amite County. The Cobras are at Loyd Star on October 5, then host Enterprise on October 12. A trip to 6-2A favorite St. Joe looms on October 19. The regular season winds down with a home game against Puckett on October 26.
The Cobras finished 5-6 last season, losing to North Forrest in the first round of the 2A playoffs. St. Joe won the division with Wesson taking second place. “St. Joe is definitely the favorite this season,” Greer said. “Coach Godfrey does a great job with his team every year.”
The outlook, Greer says, is a good one for the Cobras. “Overall, we have a reason to be excited. We have several new players that are out to prove what they can so. That attitude has challenged our veterans to step up their intensity, which should translate into better team performance,” Greer said.