Brandon Ware Staff Reporter
Over the past few years, the Chattahoochee football program saw an unforeseen shift in winning percentages; after winning a state championship in 2010, the Cougars started a downward spiral to a record of 3-7 in 2014. A lack of passion and a young team were two factors for the upsetting season, but this year seems as if the old tendencies have changed. After the unexpected period of losses and turmoil, the year 2015 seems to be a fresh start for the young team with experienced ready to jumpstart the Cougars journey back to the top.
Over the searing summer, the team took a new and innovative approach with 1995 graduate Jeff Woods taking over as the strength and conditioning coach. He brought an immense sense of intensity to the workouts incorporating drills meant to prepare the athletes for the season similar to no other year ensuring that the team will be ready to play all four quarters of the game with a sense of ease. Pavan Sastry (Sr.), one of the team’s captains, said, “We are faster now and definitely more aggressive and ready to get things done.” Coinciding with that, the Cougars built an immense sense of confidence from a copious number of strong showings in local and national 7-on-7 play; in fact, it seemed as if no defense could stop the brutal offensive attack led by returning starting quarterback Chase Owens (Jr.) and a cast of mostly returning skilled players. On the defensive side of the ball free safety Joseph Sayles (So.) has majorly stepped up and has given the Cougars a ball hawk ready to prance on any ball thrown.
With a new year comes a new mentality as well. Jaylin Taylor (Sr.), another one of the team’s captains, stated, “The players are really trying to get after it this season in efforts to improve on last year’s record and be a team that can be seen as a stepping stone for the next few years.” This new mentality has certainly been sparked by the enthusiastic coaches brought onto the staff ready to win. Pavan Sastry commented by saying, “they have definitely pumped us[the team] up a lot more and I think the coaching staff is as good as it’s ever been.”
Everything seems to be going in the Cougars’ favor with beating cross town rival Alpharetta Raiders in 7-on-7 by a large margin of 34-12 and defeating the Duluth Wildcats in a preseason exhibition match 30-15. The expectations seem to be high with goals to win region and make playoffs the real question is what can the team do with this new found confidence? Report to the Hooch Arena every Friday at 7:30 to find out.