After two years with a combined 2-16 record under coach Scott Wilkins in his second tenure at Cedar Shoals, the Jaguars have found success early in the season behind new head coach Leroy Ryals.
Cedar has opened up the season undefeated through three games for the first time since 2007, two of which were 30-plus point blowouts along with a 35-17 comeback victory over Decatur High School.
Even with the hot 3-0 start, it’s business as usual for the head man.
“I guess it’s just status quo. I just come and try and to be a part of something, try to educate and teach, and try to instill a process that I feel is going to be good for the program,” said Ryals.
This process has been tough for the players. Ryals holds the team and each individual to a higher standard than previous coaches.
“He’s a harder coach, He’ll push you harder. Like making us get up early, the tests he gives us, and overall he’s just a hard coach,” said senior safety and wide receiver Quenjarvis Hall.
The introduction of an entirely new system is hard on both the players and the coaching staff.
“It’s very trying on us as a staff because we have to constantly be on them and constantly strive to get the kids to do what we want them to do. It is a task to say the least, but I think that they understand why we do things and if not we’ll keep doing it until they do,” said Ryals.
Transitioning hasn’t been easy, but senior quarterback Aakeem Glenn sees the hard work paying off in games.
“The transition (to a pro style offense) was hard as I first started learning it, but as time went on it started to get more smooth… We’ve been able to spread the field and get the receivers out of the play when we run the ball, and when we run play action we get to throw it over the receivers’ heads instead of just running the ball most of the time,” said Glenn.
Glenn has also posted impressive numbers early in the season, racking up five touchdowns in the air over the first two games. On the defensive side of the ball Hall has a team leading 15 tackles, two of which were for a loss.
The Jags look to stay undefeated tonight against Oconee County High at 7:30 in The Jungle.