C-P coach hopes for repeat of last season against Celeste
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Sept. 2, 2005 - COMO - Tonight's game between the Como-Pickton Eagles and the Celeste Blue Devils will be a battle of two teams looking for win No. 1 on the season.

�"It is going to be important for us to get our first win and they are going to be pumped up just like Rivercrest was pumped up last week, but our kids will be pumped up too," CPHS coach Joe Ryzman said. "The kids are looking for their first win and it is important to get that first win."

Kickoff for is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Heflin Field, with this being the second District 17-A matchup in as many weeks for the Eagles.

CPHS (0-1) lost to the Rivercrest Rebels, 28-20, last week in Johntown, and Ryzman said even though the score didn't show well for them he was impressed with how his team played in that game.

"Looking back at the first game we had a lot more opportunities to win that game than I originally thought," the coach said. "I was proud of the way that the kids played for four quarters."

During that game, senior fullback Brian Hicks sprained his ankle in the second quarter, and the status of his injury was much better than Ryzman originally thought.

"Good news on Brian is that the ankle sprain is not as bad as we thought and he is already starting rehab. Hopefully we can get him back within the next two weeks," he said.

Celeste (0-1) lost to the Blooming Grove Lions last week and is looking to avenge a 43-7 defeat last year against CPHS. Ryzman said their linebackers, quarterback Casey Barbee and receiver Cooper Haralson will be strong players for them during the contest.

"Their linebacker David Lakeman is very good and their linebackers in general are the strength of their defense," Ryzman said. "They have a very good passing game and that is going to be the strength of their offense, and they have a receiver who is a very good receiver. We are going to have to stop him, and they play him at every position on the field at any time."

Lakeman finished the 2004 season with 124 tackles and was an All-State and district defensive Most Valuable Player in District 17-A. He returns with Haralson (25-355, 4 touchdowns) Colt Griffis, Brian Kelley, Shane Gray, Daniel Coleman and Chris Rodriguez.

"We will have a different type of team this week as they are going to try and pass the ball because that is the strength of their team on the offensive side of the ball," Ryzman said. "Defensively, we will see a similar defense from last week as they will blitz a lot during the game.

"The improvements that we have to make are things that every team has to make early in the season which are execution on offense, remembering defensive schemes, teaching your kids about things that they need to do to minimize penalties."

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