By KEVIN HARRIS
After graduating 12 seniors from last season’s team and being one of the smallest schools in Class 2A, the Clarksville Generals have their work cut out for the 2013 campaign.
Therefore, the Generals have spent a lot of time this summer on the gridiron and in the weight room to prepare themselves for the upcoming season.
“Our numbers are down a little bit, but we’re OK,” fourth-year Clarksville coach Steve Cooley said. “We’re going to play hard and have a lot of fun.”
During June and July, the Generals have played in a 7-on-7 league with West Washington and Mid-Southern Conference rivals North Harrison and Eastern. The leagues have scrimmages every Tuesday, and the teams have rotated hosting the weekly games each week. The players are required to wear helmets and shoulder pads during the scrimmages.
Cooley says the league has helped his team improve its skills.
“We’ve gotten better because of it,” said Cooley, whose squad will play a 7-on-7 scrimmage against Jeffersonville later this month. “It’s worked out for everybody. We’ve stayed healthy and that’s the key.”
The Generals have been going through weightlifting sessions three days a week this summer.
During his team’s offseason training activities, Cooley has been searching for certain intangibles from his squad, which will only have three seniors in 2013.
“We want to see if we can compete,” Cooley said. “We want to see how kids respond from adversity and how they respond to big plays. We’re trying to find kids who can play. We want to develop guys who can play [on both sides of the ball].”
The main question for the Generals this season is who will be their starting quarterback. Juniors Andrew Wright and Wyatt Kissel are in the running to replace last year’s quarterback Aidan McEwen.
Cooley also will be looking in training camp for someone to fill the void left by defensive end Jake Matthews, who graduated last school year.
• Departures: QB Aidan McEwen, DE Jack Matthews, WR/DB Brandin Hardin, RB/DB Nathaniel Jones.
• Key returning players: WR/DB Marquise Parrish (Sr.), RB/LB Christian Brown (Sr.), RB/LB Josh Grady (Sr.), QB/WR/DB Andrew Wright (Jr.), QB/DB Wyatt Kissel (Jr.).
• 2012 recap: After posting 3-7 records each season from 2008-2011, the Generals posted a 6-5 mark in 2012. It was Clarksville’s first winning record since 2006 when it captured its last Mid-Southern Conference championship. The Generals ended the regular season winning four of their final five contests. That included a 24-20 triumph at archrival Providence. It was Clarksville’s first victory over its city rival since 2007. The Generals defeated Eastern in the first round of Class 2A Sectional 31 (32-0) before losing in the semifinals to eventual sectional champion Lawrenceburg (56-7).
• 2013 expectations: The Generals have only three seniors on their roster, but they have a large junior class. They will seek leadership after losing both McEwen and Matthews to graduation. Wright and Kissel will battle for the starting quarterback spot in training camp. Clarksville coach Steve Cooley says his offensive line needs rebuilt, but he is encouraged that he has seven starters back on defense.