Team name: Russell County Warriors
2012 record: 3-6, 3-4 AHSAA Class 5A, Region 2
How finished in region: Fifth
Playoff result: Did not make playoffs
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Key losses: RB Marquez Greer, C Tyler Smith, LB Derrick Harley, OL/DL John Dunbar, DE Alfanza Gachett
Key returnees: QB Byron Johnson, DB Cortez Gunn, PR/KR Cameron Brooks, LB Chavel Smith, LB Caleb Smith
My take: Russell County coach Demond McCoy said his team’s focus in the spring is preparing his players for a big responsibility in the fall:
More than in the past, players will play both ways when the Warriors lace it up, a tactic intended to keep the best athletes on the field as often as possible.
What that means is that those players must be physically and, more importantly, mentally prepared when the time comes.
“We’re excited,” he said. “The overall difference between this year and last year is that a lot of our guys are going to be on the field a lot more.”
It’s a risk, to be sure. If players can’t handle the physical strain that comes with that style of play, the Warriors could find themselves worn down in games and especially late in the season.
At the same time, having better players on the field is the name of the game.
The name of the game for Russell County this spring is also concentrating on the junior varsity program, which hasn’t played games over the past couple of years.
McCoy said the numbers are great, around 50 right now, and that they plan to get some games in for the team in the fall.
“We’re just trying to build the program,” he said.
Russell County has three more practices this week, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and a spring game against Headland at 7:30 p.m. Friday at home.
Finishing the spring well and continuing the progress into the summer is key for the growth of this program. It took steps in the right direction last season and now wants to contend for a playoff spot.
Defensively, it has plenty coming back, including Chavel and Caleb Smith, who put up big numbers last season. It also has quarterback Johnson, starting for the second year, back.
There is reason to have home at Russell County, and we’ll all have to see how it plays out in the fall.
Follow along every day for a look at football teams around the Bi-City area. Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports.
April 29: Brookstone
April 30: Calvary Christian
May 1: Carver
May 2: Central
May 3: Chattahoochee County
May 4: Columbus
May 5: Harris County
May 6: Glenwood
May 7: Hardaway
May 8: Jordan
May 9: Kendrick
May 10: Northside
May 11: Pacelli