Como-Pickton and Cumby pregame
By JOSEPH ELERSON, News-Telegram Correspondent
Aug. 28, 2008 - For one team, the first game of the year will see a new coach on the sideline, while for the other team it is a season of redemption.
The Cumby Trojans will ring in the Edward Perez era at Trojan Field, while the Como-Pickton Eagles look to bounce back from a 3-7 campaign one year ago.
"Como-Pickton is going to be a very big challenge this week," Perez said. "They have better numbers than we do and they have quite a few bigger kids than we do but I don't think it is going to be a situation to where it is going to be a win-at-all-cost kind of deal."
Friday night's game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. at Trojan Field and Perez hopes his players are ready.
"It is huge to play at home," the coach said. "It is also a situation where we have been on the road for the past two weeks and our kids are starting to like it. This is going to be a different change and everything during that first week is going to be a change and the kids need to adjust."
CUMBY -- The excitement around Cumby is building as first-year coach Edward Perez opens his head coaching career at Trojan Field against a Como-Pickton team ready to run the football.
"We are going to focus on the run defense and I think they are about 82-percent run and 18-percent pass so we will be focusing on it," Perez said. "There is not going to be any stone left unturned and we are going to focus on everything that we need to focus on."
Perez said after the Trojans made the playoffs last year following a 28-year absence, the goal this season is for the team to get acclimated to the new system and to their new coach.
"It is a situation where the kids know that we are growing and trying to understand things," he said. "These preseason games are exactly that -- preseason games -- and we are going to get to the point to where we can be operational for trying to make a run at a district championship. We have a lot of things to do before then and Como-Pickton is the first step."
One player that will need to get adjusted to the quarterback position in a hurry is junior quarterback Timmy Cook.
The converted wide receiver has been working during the offseason with offensive coordinator Gary Parrish in learning the new offense and Perez said Cook has become a quick learner.
"He (Cook) has been stepping up and working all summer and is doing a good job," the coach said. "He has been a leader with our summer conditioning program and has been throwing the football when he gets the chance."
He said his defensive unit has started working on the offensive schemes they will see from the Eagles Friday night.
"We have taken a look at it. We have been working some Como stuff ever since last week and taking a look at the option game and some of the things that they have been reported to be doing," he said.
With two weeks of preseason scrimmages and two-a-days over with, the Trojans are ready to start playing games that count towards the regular season.
"It is just like the first day and this is the first real week," Perez said. "Everybody is really starting to come out and it is going to be emotional and a time to start getting fired up. I think it will be a situation where our kids are going to be prepared and we will have to execute."
COMO -- Coach Paul Tullis' squad comes into Friday night's game with a big loss at the receiver position with the loss of senior Ryan Carpenter.
Carpenter suffered a broken collarbone on the opening defensive series of their scrimmage against Union Hill Thursday night and will be out a minimum of eight weeks.
"He may be getting ready for basketball but we might be able to use him for the last couple of games," Tullis said. "It is a big loss with Ryan out because we expected big things out of him this year. I feel bad for him this year since he will not be able to play."
"James (Carter) is pain free in his knee but we held him out of practice on Monday to make sure. I think he will be fine to go and Matt Ford -- who went to the hospital -- is fine and has been cleared along with Phillip Cox."
With their first game of the season on the horizon against Cumby, the Eagles focus remains on putting together the right game plan.
"Anytime we are going into a game, we try to focus on what we do and we are making sure that we do those things right and correct," the coach said. "We are trying to be as perfect as we can with our blocks and blocking the right people."
The Eagles are expecting a physical game from the Trojans as Tullis stressed the battle in the trenches will be something to watch this week.
"We watched them on film and got to watch them during one of their scrimmages," he said. "They have good size and they are physical and come off the ball hard."
"They are a team that will come right at you and try and knock you off the ball on offense and that is my style of offense. Defensively, they run through holes well and they try to create problems in the backfield for you."
The back field of senior quarterback Austin Darby, junior running backs James Carter and Brandt Steele and senior running back Spencer Boyd are expected to be players to watch for the Eagles.
"Austin needs to make sure that he is running the veer right which he did very well during the scrimmage," the coach said. "I am sure that there will be more passing if we need to but if we can run the ball and do not need the pass then we will run it more."