Coosa faces big test in season opener against Collinsville


Coosa quarterback Austin Mills and the Conquerors open the season at Class 1A, Region 7 opponent Collinsville tonight. (Photo by Marc Golden | Gadsden Times | File)


By J.J. Hicks Sports Writer

Coosa Christian kicks off the 2012 high school football season Thursday night when it travels to Collinsville, the same team it opened against last season.

This time around, the game will be a region contest, as Coosa moved into Class 1A, Region 7 after reclassification by the Alabama High School Athletic Association. The Conquerors hope for a bit of a different result; the Panthers claimed last year’s tilt, 49-0.

“That (being in the same region) makes it more important, all the region games are,” Coosa coach Van Owens said. “Hopefully this year, we can go up there and perform a little better.

“Collinsville lost a few guys, but they still have a great group coming back. We are going to have to play really well to compete with them.”

Coosa is in its second year under Owens, and the team managed to go 3-7 despite severe depth issues last season. This time around, depth remains an issue, but the Conquerors have a number of athletes Owens feels can be playmakers for the team.

Senior Austin Mills at quarterback along with fellow seniors Jonah Mills and Micah Mills give Coosa some experience at the skill positions.

Collinsville, on the other hand, comes off a quarterfinal berth in the 1A state playoffs. Though star signal-caller Nathan Coker must be replaced, the Panthers will have receiver DeShawn Moore on hand looking to make things happen.

“First games are tough because you never know what an opponent will look like,” Collinsville coach Alan Beckett said. “I’m sure coach (Owens) will have them improved. We have a new identity and are excited to see where we stand.”

Improvement for Coosa will have to come in Region 7, which appears to be a tougher road than the one the Conquerors faced in Region 6A season ago, as Collinsville is joined by Cedar Bluff, Gaylesville, Donoho (another Region 6 transplant) and Spring Garden on the this year’s region slate.