By DAVID HUNTER
The past, present and future of the CCHS football program took part in two significant events last week. The current Lions opened up spring practice for the 2016 season, while the former Lions hosted hated rival DeKalb County in a special football game put on by Alumni Football USA on May 14.
Earlier in the week, the 2016 Lions started spring football practice hoping to bounce back from a winless 0-10 season last year. The current CCHS team has a mix of youth and experience coming back of over 30 players strong after gaining some with the end of the baseball and soccer season. One of the main goals of the team is to pick up the intensity during the next few days of practice.
"We want to pick up the intensity from last year," CCHS returning lineman Maika Fonoti said. "We could have done a lot better last season."
Fellow returning lineman Cole Hill added, "We just want to get disciplined and get less penalties than last year."
However, the biggest goal the Lions have for 2016 is to get back to winning ways, and both players I spoke to was very open and honest about improving from a horrible 2015.
"We are trying to improve from last year and try to win a couple of games this year instead of going 0-10," Hill said.
Fonoti added, "We got to bring big intensity, a really good work ethic, and come together to build a bond as a team."
T.J. Daniel returns as the Lions head coach in 2016, and he is excited for the unofficial start of a new season. He hopes the team uses the next few practices to learn and get ready for 2016.
"The biggest thing is we want to start learning and keep growing, especially since we got a lot of younger kids," Daniel said. "If we can learn and get better this spring and grow as a team. We will be 10 times better that what we were last year. We got a lot of new kids, and a starting spot is not earned in the spring. It is earned in the offseason, and the summer. We will find out, and they can start competing."
As for the former Lion football players, about 30 of them hit the gridiron for the first time in a short time against the Tigers. However, CCHS lost 32-0 in front of a huge crowd at Fred Schwartz Field. Regardless of the outcome, the players were just glad to get back on the field one more time.
"It was fun, and I got the chance to play with some people I have never played with before," A.J. Daniel, Class of 2015 said. "It was a privilege to do that, and the point of this game."
2016 CCHS Spring Football Roster
Reece Smith, Chris Young, Cort Litchford, Austin Moore, Maika Fonoti, Austin Baird, Dalton Collins, Cole Hill, Jamason Southworth, Noah Logsdon, Alex Ramsey, Haydon Sanders, Brain Williams, Kyle Mortinez, Dalton Morris, Carlos Estrada, Jon Jones, Dalton Taylor, Quentin Lock, Darrell Tensley, Jorey Isenhart, Jon Micah, Jayden Coon, Josh Walkup, Qwentin McMackins, Willy Green, Jake Walkup, Anton Knox and Chandler Todd.
May 14 CCHS Alumni Football Game Roster (Class)
Austin Brock (2016), Aaron Faith (2004), Randy Toombs (2008), Josh Lance (2007), Kyle Franklin (2000), Lee Cooper, B.J. Daniel (2014), A.J. Daniel (2015), James Thomas (1998), Peter Kyne (1996), Trent O'Neal (2009), Jimmy Parker (2009), Ryan Womack (2008), Gabe Walkup, Jesse Cunningham (1998), Dalton Ryan (2014), Tyler Lokey (2014), Chuck Haynes (2002), Jeremiah Mooneyham (2015), Daniel Taylor (2010), Daniel Cooper (2011), David Wilson (2001), Jonathan Love (2002), Mitch Walkup and Andy Agee.
The Lions football team will start summer conditioning for the 2016 season on May 31 at 7 am at the CCHS fieldhouse. This includes incoming 2016-17 freshman who are interested about joining the football team.