The Reedy football team was not only one of the best teams in the area last season, but the Lions put the program on the map as one of the state’s elite squads after going undefeated in district play and finished the year with a 13-1 record.
With its massive offensive line, veteran quarterback and other standouts, Reedy went four rounds deep before losing to eventual state champion Aledo in a 26-16 affair.
The Lions graduated some key pieces in the trenches, as well as quarterback Josh Foskey. Nonetheless, Reedy returns to the gridiron as a team to watch once again, and Star Local Media caught up with head coach Chad Cole as the 2019 season rapidly approaches.
How different has this offseason been for the program compared to the past now that Reedy is a known force across the entire state?
Cole:It’s completely different. Now we have expectations and the bar is set. At least we know what it’s supposed to look all like now. It’s exciting, but it has been totally different from what we have experienced in our short growth here and it’s a challenge.
Looking back months later, how much fun was the ride this program went on last season?
Cole:It was a tremendous blessing and we had a blast. It’s everything it’s cracked up to be and every coach talks about playing December football. It was truly amazing and the support we got from the community was special.
You guys also graduated a bunch of key pieces from last season’s team. How difficult will it be to replace some of those big guys up front on the offensive line along with players like Foskey, running back Michael Ferrara and tight end Nolan Matthews?
Cole:From a personal standpoint as a first-time head coach, having those guys as freshmen that were the foundation builders of my first-ever program, they are irreplaceable. But from an athletic standpoint, it’s going to be tough.
They poured their entire heart and soul into this program, but they were an outstanding example of what it takes in remembering what a Nolan Matthews looks like as a sophomore. Or remembering how clumsy Izeya Floyd at first was and remembering the fact that Foskey couldn’t complete a pass in his sophomore year.
That gives the athletes and the coaches reassurance that it can be done because we have done it before.
Bringing back District MVP Will Harbour certainly helps the cause to repeat as district champs. What should we expect from Harbour this fall?
Cole:He’s had a great summer and has had a weight lifted off of his shoulders. He doesn’t have to focus on recruitment and himself anymore, so he’s turned the focus back on to the team. The fact that he has gotten offers has cleared his head.
He had a lot of pressure and was frustrated, but I think you’ll see a great leader. You’ll see a guy that is playing multiple positions, but you’ll see an extended leadership role out of him. He is a man of few words, but his actions speak very, very loudly, and we’re excited about him taking over that role.
In the offseason Jalen Kitna, son of former NFL quarterback Jon Kitna, transferred to Reedy. How has he looked and is he the bonafide starter under center when the season starts next month?
Cole:He’s not the starter at this point, and we still have a battle on our hands between him and sophomore AJ Padgett. The spring and 7-on-7 season was good, but it’s going to be a fall camp going into the preseason and scrimmages to determine a starter.
It’s just going to come down to decision making. In Foskey’s senior year, he was putting the ball in tight windows, but he managed the game well and didn’t throw interceptions. That is going to be a key early for us, and we need a guy that won’t give the ball away.
Which players that maybe didn’t get a bunch of playing time a year ago are expected to make bigger impacts on the field this season?
Cole:We have a dynamic sophomore running back [Jacob Smith] that we’re very excited about. He is excited for the opportunity and has a great attitude. He has some dynamic playmaking ability and great breakaway speed.
We also have a move-in at running back from Prestonwood named Tim Taylor, and he is going to have an impact for us. That one-two combination will give us a little more depth at running back.
Our wide receiving group is prettying exciting. We have a kid coming from baseball, Josh Hernandez, and he looked fantastic in the spring. We have another move-in, Kareem Muhammad, who also looks pretty fantastic.