Coal Ridge aims to toughen up
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
PEACH VALLEY, Colorado – Lifting, sprints and distance running are now a greater part of Coal Ridge High School football than they ever have been in the past.
Head coach Scott Parker wants his Titans to be tougher. He wants them to have enough energy left in the tank to pull out close games in the third and fourth quarters. He wants them to develop the killer instinct they’ve lacked in recent seasons.
“We’ve really focused on being more physical, and conditioning,” Parker said. “Just being aggressive, that’s a thing we’ve been wanting to focus on these first couple weeks [of practice]. I’m pleased with where they’re at as far as that goes.”
The Titans own a 6-14 record the past two seasons, but they’ve come agonizingly close to bigger and better things. Too often for Parker’s liking, a play or two gone wrong has kept Coal Ridge from the win column.
“We’ve just got to win,” the third-year head coach stressed. “We have to figure out a way to win.”
With senior leadership provided by players like Giovanny Hernandez and Bryant Hernandez (no relation), the Titans have the potential to produce a breakout season.
“We feel really good,” Bryant Hernandez, an offensive lineman and linebacker, said. “We look a lot better than last year. We’re focused more on leadership.”
Leadership, both players emphasized, is something the team lacked during last fall’s 2-8 effort.
“We’re coming together as a family pretty well,” relayed Giovanny Hernandez, an offensive and defensive lineman. “We hang out more, do more stuff together outside of football.”
The Titans hope that newfound cohesion pays dividends. They certainly have the talent for such a thing to matter.
Players like wide receiver/running back Cody Walls, wide receiver/quarterback Robby Moore, running back/safety Cameron Cotton, offensive lineman/linebacker Anthony Walker and running back Brent Hazzard are all juniors and all bring experience to the table.
Moore is the team’s new starting quarterback. The 6-foot-3 passer primarily saw time at receiver last year.
“He’s got a good arm,” Parker said. “He’s been very composed in the pocket in the scrimmage [against Hayden on Aug. 24] and during the summer. … He looks like a quarterback.”
Hazzard, a speedster who’s been slowed somewhat by injury in the early going, figures to be Coal Ridge’s feature running back.
“He’s a little banged up right now, but he’ll probably be our featured back when he gets healthy,” Parker said. “He’s a hard-working kid. He’s got good speed. We’re hoping for some big things from him.”
And big things may just await the Titans, who hope all those extra sprints, laps and reps in the weight room bring a winning season to Peach Valley for the first time in the school’s six-year history.
“We need to prove it on the field,” Parker said. “If we do, if we got out there and do that, I like our chances to win some. We definitely have to get over that hurdle of league play. If we can, we’ll be OK.”
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