School: Sullivan Central
Coach: Scott Nelson
2006 record: 0-10, 0-7
Offensive starters back: 3
Defensive starters back: 3
BLOUNTVILLE — Scott Nelson, an assistant at Sullivan East for the last five years, has taken over a downtrodden Sullivan Central program but is upbeat about the situation.
“The biggest thing is getting that first win,” he said, “and then we’ll go from there. We just need to get everybody on board and moving in the same direction.
“I’ve looked at films from last year and noticed that Central came up just a little short in a lot of games,” he said. “This team is much improved since last spring. A lot of guys have stepped up and assumed leadership roles. I’ve been real pleased with their progress. It’s all about desire and self-motivation.”
Nelson and Brandon Krantz, the offensive coordinator, have been appointed Central’s co-athletic directors. They replaced principal/athletic director David Ward and his assistant, John Thomas, who retired.
Kip Cloninger is Nelson’s defensive coordinator. A few wrinkles have been added to that unit.
The Cougars have gone wide open on offense. The quarterback position has two viable candidates — Carl Roberts and Duke Moretz.
“Both are juniors with athleticism and strong arms,” Nelson said. “They also are good at recognizing defensive alignments.”
The halfbacks will be Robert Herring and Drew McLaughlin. In a power situation, Cody Likens will line up at fullback.
The top wide receivers are Morgan Winchell, Courtney Bowles, Matt Crowder, Austin Box and McLaughlin.
Forming the offensive interior will be tackles Justin Snapp and Chris St. Louis, guards Drew Patrick and Michael Collier and center Brent Fogleman. Josh Russell may start at guard when he comes off the injured list.
“St. Louis is our leader on offense. He brings everybody to gether,” Nelson said. “The offensive line has good size.”
Defensively, the Cougar starters will be Winchell and Crowder at ends, St. Louis and Collier at tackles, Bowles and Hunter Jones at outside linebackers, Fogleman and Likens at inside linebackers, McLaughlin and Box at cornerbacks and Herring at free safety.
Nelson coached under his brother, Ralph, at East.
Central’s offense is a replica of the one the Patriots operate.
“We’ll deal with that game when we get there — the 10th week,” Central’s coach said. “Our focus right now is Virginia High, the first game. There are a lot of things we must do to turn the corner. The players are coming together. I’ve seen progress every day. They are committed and very determined to succeed.”
Central will attack with four or five wide receivers. The Cougars also have power sets and a shotgun formation.
Longtime Central coach Mike Hooks resigned before the 2005 season ended and Gary Surcey took his place as interim coach.