Anson High School opened the varsity football season Friday with a 49-22 setback to visiting Monroe.
The Bearcats of fourth-year head coach Ralph Jackson will visit Sun Valley this week and host Cuthbertson on Aug. 31.
Jackson, in his 20th season overall and 10th as a head coach, said his team has been gearing up for the Rocky River Conference season since June 13 through offseason workouts. He said the team is minus standout players, and the goal has been to find cohesion.
“We hadn’t won a lot of games since I’ve been here, so we’re trying to teach these guys how important winning should be to them,” Jackson said. “We hadn’t had any guy that separated himself from the others right now, and they still hadn’t learned the importance of being tough mentally and physically.”
Jackson added that once they get into the season, they’ll find out if they have some guys who want to be starters.
“Working hard, and making these guys understand that you’ll have adversity in life, and you’ll have adversity on the field,” Jackson said, referring to teaching the players. “When those moments come, when those moments happen, you have to respond in a way that you want to be successful.”
Jackson said that his football philosophy and motto for the team started out as RTD, an acronym for return to dominance).
“Now, we’re trying to get from A to B as fast as possible,” Jackson added. “We’re trying to play fast football; fast and physical.”
Jackson still has expectations for the season, including wanting the guys to play 48 minutes of football each night.
“I want them to be very competitive,” Jackson said. “I want them to play team ball and if we can do that, I think we’ll take our chances at the end of the game.”
Alex Ross, a senior right tackle, stated that to prepare for the season, he worked hard, running every day when it comes to getting his position down.
“For the team, I want us to get a ring and to have a winning season,” Ross said. “For myself, just to be the best that I can be out there at all times and do my job.”
Ross said that the biggest game is the Mount Pleasant game, “because we got blown out by them last year; that’s a division rival.”
Latravious Tyson, a senior defensive lineman, said that he stayed in the weight room during the offseason, and made sure he communicated with the coaches to see what he needed to improve. He added that he spent a lot of time at home going through his plays from last year, viewing mistakes so he could do better.
“My plans and goals for the season is to try and average two to three sacks, make sure I keep my team up during the games because last year it was kind of in between,” Tyson said.
He added that he wanted to have a successful season, do his one and 11, and trust in his brothers to do theirs.
“I feel like it’s going to be pretty good,” Tyson said, referring to the conference year. “We’ve got some tough cats out here, so hopefully it goes well.”
Tyson added that he’s certain the team will be conference champs this year.
“I don’t think anyone can play against us,” he added.
Izion McCrae, a senior free safety and wide receiver, said that his goals for the team are to go to the championship.
“My goal is to get 2,000 all-purpose yards this season, and come out with a ring,” McCrae said.
McCrae also stated that Monroe is the biggest game, because that sets the tone for the season.
During the offseason, McCrae said he focused on, “techniques, catching skills, visuality by running and back pedaling, trying to stay on top, and seeing the vision when you’re running the ball.”
New changes were made in the coaching staff this season. Authur Bowdin, receiver coach from Anson Middle School; Landis Shofner, outside linebackers coach, also from the middle school; and Jeremy Kendall, were additions to the staff.
According to Jackson, Kendall is not in the school system, but he’s a guy that loves football, and is helping to work with tight ends.
“I’m just asking for the community to come out and support these young men,” Jackson said. He added that the guys have really paid the price.
Jackson said that he doesn’t think the community understands what the players have put into getting ready for the season, and playing is very demanding.
“They really don’t have a summer and we’re expecting the best from them,” Jackson added. “We have high expectations of them, so we just need the community to come out and be a part of what we’re trying to do.”
Anson High School football players gear up for the conference year.
The Bearcats go through drills prior to their season-opener last week against Monroe.
Anson football players are brimming with confidence and expect a good showing in the Rocky River Conference.