by Malcolm Butler
It’s been a roller coaster ride over the past four years for Cedar Creek’s senior class of football players.
Four head coaches in four years for the likes of Landon Amidon, Noah Durrett, Brett Johnson, Lawson Lillo, Conner Rolen, Ladd Thompson, Blake Wade and Gray Worthey.
Tonight those eight Cougars could likely be playing their final home game at Origin Bank Stadium when Creek hosts District 2-1A rival St. Frederick.
Although there is plenty on the line tonight for head coach William Parkerson’s bunch, the first-year Cougars boss would rather talk about his senior class. He credits them for their never-say-die mentality this season when the Cougars started the season 0-3.
“We have won four of our last five and the one loss we were more competitive in that game then people thought we would be,” said Parkerson. “It’s a testament to the young men that they are and the love they have for this school and the love they have for each other. I couldn’t have asked for a better group to have for my first senior class here.”
The Cougars seniors feel the same way about their first year head coach.
“It’s been a lot of fun, a lot more fun than I thought it was going to be,” said Johnson, the Cougars starting center who missed the first five games of the year. “I was nervous about this year because I didn’t know what to expect. Being this low in numbers, I thought honestly that we were going to struggle. We have gotten better and better each week, and it’s been the most fun I have had.”
“It’s been fun,” said Wade. “Obviously, we are low on numbers this year, but this has been one of the most enjoyable years for everybody. I think we all came together as a family. We are just playing for one another.”
“It’s been great,” said Durrett. “It’s the most fun I have ever had playing football. I couldn’t ask for a better group. I am thankful for Coach P and making it so good for us. I am just glad everything happened the way it did.”
Cedar Creek (4-4, 1-1) and St. Frederick (5-3, 1-1) are both playing for seeding in the upcoming Select School Division IV playoffs which start next weekend. Parkerson said the Warriors pose some challenges.
“They mix pro-personnel and spread up,” said Parkerson. “They want to run the football. Between the quarterback and the tailback, both of them have elite speed. We have to do a really good job of putting them back in the huddle and not giving up the big play.
“Defensively, they run a 4-2-5. Mainly cover three. Maybe some quarter-quarter-half in there. But they are a 4-2-5, one-high defense. They are really good up front so it will be a challenge getting the run established.”
The Cougars currently sit at No. 21 (top 24 qualify) while the Warriors sit at No. 9 in the most recent power ratings, making this an important game for both teams.
“It’s big,” said Parkerson. “It’s the next one on the schedule. The winner of this game is all alone as the district runner-up. It’s a small district, but I think we have three teams that are capable of winning multiple playoff games if the draw is right. To be alone as the second place team in this district would be nice.
“I think St. Fred’s has won three in a row in the rivalry. It would be nice to bring back a win here; to get the win on our side would be huge in a game where neither team really likes one another.”
The Cougar senior class has an opportunity to put an exclamation mark on the regular season and build momentum heading into the postseason tonight. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.