Cougars ready to open football season

2021 McLean County High School varsity football team.

The McLean County High School football team is fired up and ready to roll with another season on the gridiron.

Head coach Zach Wagner is leading his ninth season with the Cougars. Rounding out his staff this year are Justin Cook (defensive coordinator and running backs), Gary Morris (offensive line), James Osborne (wide receivers and defensive backs), Nathan Sutherlin (defensive line and running backs) and Zareck “Big Z” Wedding (offensive line).

The coaches and players have been working hard over the summer to prepare and are excited to get the season started. There are 45 players on the roster filling out the varsity, junior varsity and frosh (freshman and sophomore) teams.

While the team overall is fairly young, having several players seeing very few varsity snaps thus far, they have been working diligently in the weight room to offset their lack of experience with strength.

Coach Wagner said that he “really likes the energy, enthusiasm and willingness to work and learn from this team.”

The biggest challenge that the coaching staff foresees is the lack of live reps that the current players have seen.

“Unfortunately, last season was cut short, so we need to make the most out of practices and scrimmages to prepare us in a hurry for the season,” said Wagner.

The Cougars hosted a scrimmage against Trigg County on Aug. 6 and traveled to Warren Central for a multi-team scrimmage on Aug. 13.

When asked to comment on these opportunities to face outside opponents, Wagner said, “we got some good quality reps, which we greatly needed. We were able to move the ball and execute on offense, with a few missteps that we will work on this week. Defensively, we ran to the ball well and were solid up front. We will continue with work to eliminate any mistakes.”

When asked about any goals or what they hope to accomplish this season, Wagner shared that in the current state of athletics due to the continuing challenges from COVID-19, they just want an opportunity to play.

“We are stressing with our players to take nothing for granted and make the most out of every practice, scrimmage and game,” he said.

The Cougars open the regular season by hosting Ohio County at 7 p.m. Friday.

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