Every football team wants to make a leap and change its status among its rivals.
Coosa coach Todd Wheeler finds himself in that situation, and he knows there’s still plenty to figure out.
The Coosa Eagles struggled mightily in the first half of their scrimmage against Pickens County on Friday night but showed some offensive prowess in the third and fourth quarters to offer some hope to players and fans.
“The theme of the night was mistakes, mistakes, mistakes, and we need to learn from that,” Wheeler said. “I think we discovered what kind of shape we’re in. We got to see what we need to work on the next two weeks so we can be where we want to be.”
The main story of the first half was Pickens County quarterback Jacob Brumby, who went 11-for-23 passing for 201 yards and a touchdown. The senior managed the Dragons’ shotgun formation to perfection, often leading Coosa defenders in disarray, trying to find the open man.
While mistakes were certainly made, Wheeler knows these are the kinds of teams Coosa must hang with in Region 7-AA.
“They’re a lot similar to what we see the rest of the year,” Wheeler said. “Those coaches do a great job, and at any point they can break one on you.”
One first half bright spot for the Eagles came in the final minute of the second quarter with the Dragons seemingly driving for their third score of the game.
Junior safety Lavanda Millsap jumped in front and intercepted a Brumby pass and brought it back to the Pickens 25-yard line.
“Lavanda all night could see that opening, but he was kind of nervous to make that jump,” Wheeler said. “Then he finally goes for it and comes away with the pick. And I think he gains a little confidence and maturity with something like that.”
The Coosa offense gained only 30 total yards on six drives in the first half, the biggest play coming early when quarterback Logan Pledger hit Kenon Dixon for a 27-yard pass on third and long.
Dixon played quarterback in the second half and ran in a touchdown in the third and fourth quarters. A fumble recovery set up a five-yard touchdown run from the junior in the third quarter, and he completed a 62-yard pass to Chris Brockman before scoring from four yards out in the fourth.
Just like Millsap’s interception, Wheeler sees those moments as confidence builders. It is the type of thing his team needs when they try and make the leap to the next tier of success once the season begins.
“When you have a bad half like we had, to go into halftime and take the constructive criticism and rebound like we did, that’s always a positive.” Wheeler said.
Coosa begins the regular season Aug. 25 when it plays host to Coahulla Creek in a non-region game.