Scott Central, Sebastopol kickoff with new coaches

By JAMES PHILLIPS,

 

As the new school year begins it means football fans are only a couple weeks away from the start of the 2018  season. Practice officially kicked off on July 30 and at this point in the new season last year’s records have been recorded and locked away and every high school team in the state is undefeated.

As the season readies to get underway on August 17 two local teams will start the year with new field generals walking the sidelines. The Scott Central Rebels and the Sebastopol Bobcats are both excited about their new coaches and are ready to turn on the Friday night lights.

 

Scott Central Rebels

Scott Central hired a home grown coach in Devin Cooper after former coach Jim Nowell resigned following the 2017 football season. Cooper fondly remembers taking the field as a Rebel during his playing days and says he has fond memories of starting his coaching career on the Scott Central coaching staff, and now he is returning home to take over as SC’s head football coach.

Cooper spent the last five years coaching at Clinton High School under Coach Judd Boswell and helped lead the Arrows to the 2016 6A state championship. Cooper enjoyed his time and experience coaching at the 6A level in Clinton, but says he is excited to return to his alma mater and is ready to lead the Rebels through the 2A ranks.

Cooper believes the Rebels have reason to be excited about the upcoming season as they return a lot of talent from last year’s team who dominated opponents throughout the 2017 season going 12-2 and falling one win short of reaching the 2A state championship game. Now they are on to 2018 and while the Rebels look to build on the successes they accomplished last year this is a new season, new team and new coach and they will look to compete for the 2A Region 4 District title and make a deep playoff run.

The Rebels offense had no problems finding pay-dirt last season and they look to do more of the same this year with a talented group of skill players. Cooper says during his previous coaching stint at Scott Central and during his time at Clinton he coached on the defensive side of the ball and will look to shore-up the Rebels defense to partner with their high-octane offense. If the offense and defense come together ready to fire under the new guidance of Cooper the Rebels will be one of the teams to beat in class 2A football.

The Rebels open their season when they host the Enterprise Bulldogs on August 17 and will begin conference play on September 28 when they host the Newton Tigers.

 

Sebastopol Bobcats

The Sebastopol Bobcats are eager to get the 2018 season underway as they have put 2017 in the rear view. The Bobcats not only have excitement for the new year, they have a new head coach in Nicky Mooney. Mooney comes to Sebastopol from Northwest Rankin where he served as an assistant coach on the Cougar’s staff. Mooney makes the jump to class 1A football and says he is looking to bring a culture change with him. He said he wants winning to become the norm at Sebastopol and he has challenged his team to put in the extra time and effort it takes to be champions.

The Bobcats suffered through a tough 3-9 campaign in 2017. They have put the negative behind them and look to build on the team positives in the 2018 season. The Bobcats look to be contenders in 1A Region 3 this year and pull that record above the .500 mark. The work to achieve their 2018 goals began this summer with a revitalized summer program that had the players seeing the different energy and enthusiasm Coach Mooney brings to Scott County.

Mooney challenged his players from the beginning and he has been very pleased with the player’s reaction and dedication. Mooney said his goal is to make Sebastopol Football a “win all the time” program and the Bobcats look to start the climb this season.

The Bobcats start the 2018 season on August 17 when they travel to Meridian to take on the Clarkdale Bulldogs and they begin district play on September 7 when they host the Ethel Tigers.