Cold Springs' Alex Stephenson has served his time, and now his opportunity has come to be a leader.

"He has been an assistant for nine years and the top varsity assistant for four years," Cold Springs' principle William Calvert said on Tuesday on the hiring of Stephenson as head football coach. "I feel like he deserves a shot, and with his football background we feel like he can be a success. We are very excited about the opportunity, and I have full confidence in him to do the job."

Besides Stephenson's past at Cold Springs of improving his teams, he said he prides himself on his personal relationship with his players.

"I want us to play hard every down," Stephenson said. "I want the team to show respect and class every time we step out on the field, anything beyond that will be extra. I already know all the kids, so that will be a strong point this season."

While the chemistry with his players is already somewhat established, Stephenson said he feels the building blocks are in place for the program.

"I hope that we can follow what coach (Rod) Elliott has established here lately," Stephenson said. "I think the program is in good shape, and we have something to build on here."

For Cold Springs the rebuilding process will be a tough one after losing key players to graduation. Offensively for the Eagles, key losses include Kory Myrex, the teams work horse last season rushing for 880 yards and Anthony Graves whose presence on the line will be missed.

Defensively, the Eagles will have to replace Derrick Bullard, the cornerstone of the linebacker core with 112 tackles and 10 tackles for a loss.

Cold Springs seemed to have some struggles establishing the run game against Good Hope in the spring game, but did see bright spots in the passing game. Wide receiver Nick Self showed signs of potential, pulling down three passes on the Eagles' final drive setting up the touchdown.

"We just didn't really execute the way I wanted," Stephenson said. "Good Hope had a lot to do with that too. Offensively I felt like we played like it was a spring game and didn't get going until late, but I feel like we will be fine when the season comes."

After nine seasons as an assistant with the program Stephenson has the knowledge and tools to develop his program. There is always a lot of pressure to succeed when taking over a program, but according to Stephenson, he can't wait for the opportunity.

"I am just looking forward to this first season," Stephenson said. "I am sure the emotion and all those things will be hard to anticipate. It's different than being an assistant coach. I think most of the pressure that a coach feels is put in on himself. I hope the community members know that I will do my very best."

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