The Bulldogs welcome in Sean Nevills in his first season at the helm for Springfield Central.
Head Coach: Sean Nevills
2015 Record: 5-5
Key Players: Danny Adams (QB/LB), Craigen Hatfield (OL/DL), Austin McClary (OL/DL), Dantae Reese (WR/DB), Kevin Russell (WR/DB), Jamaal Williams (WR/DB)
Nevills takes over for Lorenzo Williams, who helped lead the Bulldogs to a 5-5 record last season. Nevills is a Missouri State graduate and is fresh off of a stint as an assistant at Battle High School.
With scarce participation this year, coach Nevills hopes to establish a family mentality with his new team.
“The first year is just about family,” said Nevills. “Family is the thing we’re trying to preach. We have but so many guys here, about 35 out here right now, so we’re just trying to build that family mentality and bring more faces in.”
The Bulldogs will look to replace more than 4,000 yards of total offense from last season’s team. They will be able to lean on leadership up front with senior Craigen Hatfield and junior Austin McClary anchoring the offensive and defensive lines.
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Danny Adams and Jimmy Walker are competing for the starting quarterback role this season. That’s just one of several spots with a competition underway.
“Nothing with this team is known for sure,” said Nevills. “It’s all open. One thing I like to say is even with our small numbers, you’re at least a JV player… So you never know when you’re going to be called for the Friday night lights.”
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This group of Central players will be asked to play both ways this season. Conditioning has been a focal point in practice, and coach Nevills wants his players to understand their role as two-way players.
“With a two-way team, I kind of had to go through the growing pains of figuring that out on my own with the guys we have,” he said. “Obviously, we had the summer contact days to establish that. And when we came in to Monday, our first practice, I told my coaches, ‘Look, we’re a two-way team.’ So we’re going to practice as such. Getting the conditioning in and working these guys to that point so that they understand that they’re asked to play both ways.”
Nevills has admired his team’s competitive spirit this offseason. Central players have focused on competing in practice for starting spots, and that mindset could prove to be an advantage heading into week one.
“It is a tough schedule, and we have young guys, but lets just compete. We’re going to compete every Friday night and one Thursday in there. As long as we’re competing and we look good, the wins and losses, they’re going to dictate themselves depending on our work ethic, how we go out there and how we prepare as a staff and a team.”
Central opens against Rogersville at home on Aug. 19.