WESTERN YELL COUNTY WOLVERINES: Coach working to change mentality of team
August 26, 2012
The Western Yell County Wolverines have only had a presence on the football field for a few years, but with a new head coach and a new attitude, the team is looking to turn the program around.
First-year head coach Mark Lewis, who was previously the defensive line coach at Carlisle, said he feels the team is lacking the stability and consistency needed to be a successful program.
“I’m trying to change things,” Lewis said. “We have a lot of support from the community, and we’ve got these kids working hard. Old habits are hard to break. We’re working on changing the mentality of the team and developing a dedicated, winning attitude.”
Last season, the team won two games. Lewis said he mainly wants to improve on that record and work toward building a strong team in the years to come.
The Wolverines will depend mainly on sophomores this season because the team of 20 has 15 sophomores who will be moving up from a 4-4-1 junior high season, which was the best record the junior Wolverines have seen since the program’s foundation.
Sophomore Trent Cobb will take over as quarterback, with sophomores Chris Thygesen and Brenton Buckman stepping into the running-back positions.
Sophomore Clayton Montgomery will also be an asset to the team as this season’s “top receiver,” Lewis said.
“We’ll go with what we’ve got,” he said. “Anytime you have to play sophomores, even though talented, you have to remember that it is a big jump from junior high to high school. There is a big difference; it is almost like going from high school to college.”
The Wolverines will also try a new offensive strategy this season. Lewis said the team will embrace more of an option game plan instead of the spread offense seen in past years.
“The key is not to let anyone get hurt,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of depth.”
Junior Robert Weems will also move to the offensive line, which Lewis said will “really help” to strengthen the line.
Ryan Brand, one of the few seniors on the team, along with sophomore Alex Ridenour, will likely be defensive tackles.
Western Yell will open the season against Cutter Morning Star, a team the Wolverines have lost to by 2 and 3 points the last two seasons, respectively, Lewis said.
“We play them at home this time, and we are looking to turn things around and start the season off right,” he said.
As for the stability of the team, Lewis said he doesn’t plan on leaving and is happy to be leading the Wolverine team.
“The most important thing is stability,” Lewis said. “I am not looking to go anywhere.”