Cougars scrimmage Knights in first season preview
by The Press and Standard | August 14, 2019 5:00 pm
Last Updated: August 14, 2019 at 11:16 am
By CINDY CROSBY
Colleton County varsity football kicked off the 2019 season traveling to Stratford Thursday Aug. 8 for a scrimmage. The Cougars did not score against the Knights, losing 17-0.
“I thought we played well at times, but our youth showed in that we were inconsistent,” said third-year Head Coach Coby Peeler. “We have to eliminate mistakes and be more disciplined. Our effort was good, but we really must work to execute better on both sides of the ball. Ten of the points came with our backups in position, but regardless, we must execute better and that is the bottom line.”
The Cougars currently have approximately 80 players that will comprise the varsity and JV roster.
“We are starting to see our numbers increase, especially with multi-sport athletes,” said Peeler. “I am excited about that and love to see those guys playing multiple sports. The thing I’m most proud of is we lost just three guys to (academic) eligibility this year. They were all underclassman that haven’t been here. When I got to Colleton County, I think there were 31 players that would have been ineligible had we started that day. To have that number down to three out of around 80 kids is a credit to what they are doing in the classroom.”
According to Peeler, there are several factors that will be important to the Cougars’ success this season. The key factor is keeping his starters healthy. “We have some outstanding, talented players,” said Peeler. “And, many of the guys behind them are talented, but they are also very inexperienced.”
Another factor is the secondary. “The secondary is probably the most talented group on the field,” he admitted. “But there is not a lot of varsity experience. By the time we get to mid-season, they are going to have that experience and be fine. We just have to be careful early and make sure we are doing the right things and in the right places.”
High expectations rounded out Peeler’s list. “There are a lot of teams and a lot of people good to talk about it, but when something goes wrong – everything heads south,” he said. “This team seems to be more resilient. We’ve got to make sure we focus on what we do and understand other teams have good players too. When something bad happens, we’ve got to be able to line up and play the next play.”
Visiting practice last week, there was an air of excitement on the Cougars’ practice field, being led by an enthusiastic coaching staff.
“I think it is a combination of things,” said Peeler when asked about his re-energized staff. “As coaches, we always challenge our guys to not let the kids outwork you. We are asking them to do a lot of things and put a lot of time and effort into it — and we must be willing to do the same thing. If we are not, we need to find another job because that is what it is about. Our coaches have really taken ownership of their positions. It is not my football team; it is the kids’ team and we are there to help them.”
Not only were the coaches setting the tone at practice, but the players appeared engaged and motivated.
“It is really a credit to our kids and their character,” said Peeler. “It is a different type of student-athlete now than when I first came to Colleton County. These kids know what the expectation is now after being in the program for three years. We always want to do the right thing and approach things the right way — and they’ve bought into that. It shows in the classroom, it shows on the field and it shows in the community. They’ve done an outstanding job of buying into what we’re talking about and teaching.”
Colleton County Football will begin a preseason email fundraising drive through Snap! Raise on Tuesday Aug. 13. “It is a secure online fundraiser where every dime we get is spent on the players,” said Peeler. “We don’t buy coaching gear or anything directly not going to the players. The more people that can help, the better, as we are extremely reliant on the community to help the program. These guys have worked incredibly hard at everything they do, and they will approach this the same way. When they send those emails out, we would appreciate the community’s help. No donation is too small, and we appreciate everything we get.”
The Cougars were scheduled to host Cane Bay on Monday Aug. 12 at 9 a.m., then participate in the Berkeley Lion’s Club Jamboree on Friday Aug. 16, scheduled in quarters three and four.