By Drake Flowers
Year one of the Billy Wayne Hankins era at Copiah Academy saw the Colonels finish the year with a 7-4 record, falling in the opening round of the playoffs to a talented Park Place Christian team. After graduating some key spots on both sides of the football, it would be natural to believe that the Colonels will be back in a rebuilding year entering the 2021 season. However, the buzz around the field house on campus would say differently.
“Our guys worked extremely hard this summer,” Hankins stated. “Everyone in our league works hard every summer,” he continued. “It’s just about making sure we don’t fall behind, and I feel like we didn’t. Our kids came in and worked hard to do their part. We had 90% attendance at every summer workout, which has allowed us to be much farther ahead in our execution compared to last year.”
Taking the reins at quarterback this season will be Wyatt Albright. The junior spent a lot of time last season playing on both sides of the ball for the Colonels. Moving to quarterback has been quite a different atmosphere for Albright, but Coach Hankins says he has taken it impressively well.
“Wyatt had a great spring and summer,” stated Hankins. “He has thrown the ball well in practice and has looked great in seven-on-seven.”
The usual fear with a new quarterback is the quick decision making that has to take place when under pressure; however, according to the staff, this should be no issue for the signal caller.
According to Coach Hankins, people will be impressed with how well he does in the backfield. “People will be surprised in his running ability and his ability to throw the ball under pressure. We have all the confidence in the world in Wyatt,” he said.
In addition to a new quarterback, there is also a new play caller in town, as first-year offensive coordinator Dan Napier has taken hold of the Colonel offensive responsibilities. Napier joins the Colonel coaching staff after a previous stint as the head coach at Simpson Academy. Napier brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to a somewhat young Copiah offense and plans to use that to his advantage this fall.
When asked about the keys to success for Copiah on offense this year, Napier responded by saying, “We have to take care of the football and be extremely disciplined on offense to avoid penalties and not beat ourselves.”
Napier, known for his innate ability to scout and prepare for opponents, plans to also utilize these skills in the offensive game plan for the Colonels. “Options are built into everything we do. We want to try to adjust to what the defense is giving us on a particular possession as well as attack them with things we feel like they struggle defending,” he said.
When asked about the new quarterback taking snaps for the Colonels, Napier didn’t hesitate to throw his unwavering confidence behind his junior. “Wyatt is a good leader and a good person. He is competitive and smart and has very few if any bad habits at all. There is no doubt he is going to step up and be a really good player for us throughout the year.”
Read the full story in the Aug. 8, 2021 E-Edition