Coosa Christian goes for first win of year


Coosa Christian coach Scott Clifton looks on during a game earlier this season. (Photo by Marc Golden | Gadsden Times)


In a scene from the 1976 movie “The Gumball Rally,” Franco breaks off the rear-view mirror of his bright red Ferrari and gives the first rule of Italian driving.

“What’s a-behind me is not important,” he said with a heavy accent.

Funny thing is, that rule also applies to high school football.

It’s kind of a mantra for Coosa Christian coach Scott Clifton, whose Conquerors are winless on the season heading into Friday night’s homecoming game against the Shades Mountain Christian Eagles.

Coosa is 0-6 after a brutally difficult stretch of the Class 1A, Region 7 schedule.

“My analogy is, if you drove from California to New York with your headlights on bright, you can only see 200 feet ahead of you,” said Clifon, in his first year as a head coach. “You don’t look to the left. You don’t look to the right. You don’t look behind you. Everything that’s happened is over with.

“We’re just going to keep moving forward.”

The Conquerors also started 0-6 last season before reeling off four straight wins to finish the year, beginning with a 13-7 victory over Shades Mountain Christian.

Clifton is hoping for the same thing in 2013, and while he insists his young team is improving despite the results, he’d like to see it show more consistency.

“That’s the way it goes with a young team,” he said. “You have your ups, your downs and inconsistencies. Right now, we’re our own worst enemy. We’ll make a drive or make a big play, then we’ll throw an interception or fumble the football — something crazy will happen. We just can’t have that, not as young as we are.”

Johnny Grizzard will key the offense at quarterback Friday night. One of his primary weapons is Ben Mills, who is somewhat of a hybrid running back/wide receiver. Clifton said defensive linemen Drake Burger, Seth Williamson and Andy Lawson “are doing great,” and linebackers Isaac Hamby and Caleb Sanderson have been making an impact.

The Conquerors’ defense will have to contend with a Shades Mountain Christian (1-4) offense that keeps things simple but effective.

“They only run three formations, but out of those formations they do things very well,” Clifton said of the Eagles, who picked up their first win of the season last week against Southeastern. “We’re going to have to play our best to come out of there with a victory.

“But we have to keep our focus and worry about what we can do, and not so much what they can do.”

The Eagles will try to do most of their damage with the 1-2 backfield punch of William Parker and Michael Patterson. Parker, at 6-foot-2, 206 pounds, is the bruising fullback, while Patterson (5-10, 160) gives them a change of speed.