Story by Griffin Pritchard | Publisher
Photos by Brian Tannehill | Director of Photography
CENTRAL ALABAMA SCOREBOARD OFFICE — Edgewood Academy at one point was the topic of championship conversations at the peak of their AISA run. That was years ago though and the football world continued to turn as the Wildcats regrouped. Last season though, Edgewood clawed their way back into being a talking point, falling in the semifinal to eventual Class AA champion Chambers Academy.
“I thought we finished the season with a lot of momentum heading into the offseason, and a lot of confidence for the upcoming season,” said Wildcats Football Coach Chad Michael. “Our goal is to be as good as you can each day. Don’t worry about yesterday or tomorrow. But where your feet are and be as good as you can right now, the rest will take care of itself.”
The Wildcats will learn early if that mentality pays dividends as they open the season with Southern and then follow with dates against Hooper (playoff team from last year), Banks, Macon East (Class AA semifinalist) and Pike Liberal Arts (defending Class AAA champions) in successive weeks. The Wildcats host the Patriots Sept. 17 before taking a Friday night off to end the month.
Michael: “Our expectations are like our goals, how good can we be today. How good can we be this rep, how good can we be on this sprint? Focus on the now and let your hard work take care of everything else.”
That extra includes playing a handful of 7-on-7s leading up August and the start of the season. But – after being ravaged by graduation – that time will also be used to develop a competitive depth chart that will set Edgewood up for another run deep into Class AA playoffs. And, ravaged is not hyperbole. Edgewood lost three wideouts, two backs, three offensive linemen and their starting quarterback
Michael: “Junior Austin Champion will step into the role as starting quarterback. He started two games last year when Alex (Johnson) was hurt and won both games including beating Chambers, who went on to win a championship. Junior Bradley Boone will take on the running back duties. He split time there last year as well as playing some wide receiver. At wide receiver, we expect senior Trevor Rodie and sophomore Gabe LeMaster to play key roles. Offensive line returns starting seniors Colton Jones and Jake Allison.”
He added that juniors Wes Reeves and Bryson Boone are expected to step in and play a much larger role this season.
Edgewood, on the defensive side of the ball, are just as depleted losing longtime starter Jacob Benton along with Carson Peeve (linebacker) and leading tackler Blane Guthrey (safety).
Michael: “We expect Colton Jones and Jake Allison to be anchors on the defensive line. At linebacker, seniors JT Brazell, Sam Williams and junior Michael McLing are expected to make impacts this season.”
Boone, Rodie and JB Collier will line up at defensive back and LeMaster at safety.
Micheal, in closing, added that: “we are very lucky as coaches to have great kids who you don’t really have to push. We have great senior leadership and they set the tone and the rest of the players fall in line with them. Our kids come to get the most out of every day, most of the time we have to make them go home because they are doing so much extra.”
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Story by Griffin Pritchard | Publisher Photo Courtesy of St. James Athletics CENTRAL ALABAMA...