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May 30, 2014

PREP FOOTBALL: Loaded Warriors ready to break through

CULLMAN — Two weeks of spring practice confirmed what Don Farley was pretty sure he already knew.

His West Point football team was laden with talent.

It’s arguably the best group the second-year head coach has had during his long tenure with the program and definitely one of the most experienced.

And while there’s still a ways to go until August, Farley was excited about all accomplished in the spring.

“We had a good one,” he said. “Our spring game with Fairview allowed us to see some areas we have got to keep working and getting better in. We were able to find some stuff and a couple of new players. Our goal now is to establish depth into our long summer workouts and into the fall. And to stay healthy.”

The Maroon and White return myriad experience on both sides of the ball — although they’ll need to plug the holes left behind by solid players like Tristan Dubberly, Brandon Wray, Zack Tilley and Chandler Nelson.

Offensively, the Warriors have the potential to become one of the more dynamic units in Class 5A with their fast-paced, read-option schemes orchestrated by quarterback Bryant Farley and running back Kobe Smith. Will Wrenn and Ryder Jones provide a couple of big targets for Farley’s arm as well.

“Those are all great weapons to have,” Farley said. “We really just have to have some guys on the offensive line step up. We gave a lot of players some looks and reps. We really like where we are headed, but we have to continue to keep working.”

Over on defense, Jones, Trent Campbell, Levi Laney and Blake Yearwood are all seasoned seniors ready to contribute to a unit that’s expected to be one of the best in the county.

 Lance Ray, Austin Young and Jacob Perez are all likely to get important minutes for the Warriors on D, too.

“We’ve got a lot of senior leadership this year,” Farley said. “I think we started eight or nine seniors in our spring game. We’re counting on them, but we can only go as far as our young guys can take us. They give you depth and make you better during a practice. They’re our future.”

With a talented roster and a much friendly region slate, it’s no surprise West Point is eating, breathing and sleeping playoffs in May. Gone are Cullman, Muscle Shoals and Hartselle from Farley and Co.’s schedule, replaced with teams the Warriors may have beaten last season. Combine that with an athletic program that is chomping at the bit to make a name for itself, and it’s not all that hard to see why the coach is brimming with confidence.

“The playoffs is certainly our goal,” Farley said. “They are all feeling the same way. The opportunity’s there. What we do in June and July is going to determine where we are in November. Home or the playoffs. The outlook is there, and the guys are all really positive. We just need to put in the work.”

West Point begins its playoff quest with an Aug. 21 jamboree contest at Curry before traveling down to Hayden for their first regular season bout the following Friday.

The Warriors’ Region 8 consists of Ardmore, Columbia, East Limestone, J.O. Johnson, Lawrence County, Pope John Paul II and Russellville.

% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 136 or at jwinfrey@cullmantimes.com.

 

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