Hunter Workman

Hunter Workman

FILE — Cosby junior Hunter Workman slings a pass to the boundary during a scrimmage with Unicoi over the offseason. Workman returns as the Eagles’ leader in offensive production in 2019.

COSBY—The opening week of high school football opens up as a revenge week for the Cosby High Eagles under the lights on Friday.

A season ago Cosby started the season with a disappointing loss on the road against Hancock County. Beginning the 2019 regular season, the Hancock County Indians visit The Hill as Cosby will look for revenge protecting its home.

The Indians are a team Cosby has not seen many losses to. Last season’s 37-7 loss marked only the second loss against Hancock County in the last 10 years. Cosby has earned itself an 8-2 record against the Indians in their last 10 meetings, as head coach Kevin Hall of Cosby has held a 7-2 record against them.

“We don’t like losing to Hancock County,” Hall said. “The ones that were here last year are carrying that loss with them into Friday. It is setting up to be a good game and one the kids will be fired up for. It’s game one of the season and that always adds extra excitement to the team.”

The Eagles will look to add another win to that head-to-head record on Friday.

The main focuses for the Eagles are to establish their ground attack early in the game and staying healthy. Looking back at last year’s matchup, Cosby went down seven players in just the first quarter due to injuries.

“For one, we have to stay healthy,” Hall said. “We lost too many kids in the first quarter last year. We can’t have that happen again. We also have to focus on doing what we do best and staying consistent with it. We can’t worry about what they do, but only worry about what we do.”

Cosby relies on its I-formation heavily and for it to be successful the rushing has to stay consistent. For a running game to be consistent, though, the offensive line has to be ready and provide excellent blocking, which Hall is confident his offensive line will do.

“We have a lot of older kids,” Hall said. “I will take my front five against anyone. We are pretty good up there. We have kept them healthy. I like how the lines match up in this particular matchup. We have established a lot of depth up front leading up to this game. “

Hall would love to see balance implemented in his offense with the passing game, too. He knows his team can run the ball and has very talented players, but to draw the Indians away from keying in on the run game, an air attack will need to be established.

“We are going to try and use our explosives,” Hall said. “I feel like we can be very explosive on both sides of the ball.

“In high school ball, if you can come out and control the run game, it can control the whole game. It’s demoralizing to not be able to run the ball. Not just for the sake of down and distance to be able to run the ball, but we want to be able to run the ball from the jump to establish ourselves early.”

Cosby understands what needs to happen on the offensive end, but the defense will have to be prepared for the offense to gain the opportunities to establish and score.

The defense was a weakness for the Eagles heading into the 2019 offseason, but has made major improvements through the summer months. With each scrimmage, the defense improved and if that can follow into the regular season Cosby will be sturdy on the defensive side of the ball.

Cosby’s defensive line will need to crash and not allow Hancock County’s quarterback to have time in the pocket. The key is to break the Indian’s plays early to disrupt the offensive rhythm and take advantage once the ball is back in the Eagles’ possession.

“Hancock County lines up with a pretty talented offense,” Hall said. “They have a tight end we will need to be focused on. If we can break through the line early and get to the quarterback, we will be okay. We also have to watch out for their running backs.”

It is always exciting to begin the season to show all of the hard work that was put in through the offseason, and if the efforts can turn into a win Cosby will be in good shape.

“We’re very excited to get this season started,” Hall said. “We’ve had a pretty good offseason and now we get to go out there and see what we are about. We are looking to start with a win to grab some confidence for a great start to this season. That could be huge for us.”

Before getting to that great start, there is business to handle at home.

Cosby hosts Hancock County in the non-region season opener at Virgil Ball Stadium Friday with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff time. The game can also be heard on tape-delay on WLIK (97.9 FM or 1270 AM) at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

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