Cornerstone Christian in familiar setting for opener

Published 10:43 am Monday, August 19, 2013

By DREW GRANTHUM / Sports Writer

There’s no place like home, or so hopes Cornerstone Christian School.

The Chargers will take to the field Aug. 23 to open the 2013 season against county rival Coosa Valley Academy at home and look to home field advantage to help the growth of a young team.

“They’ve worked all summer,” head coach Tim Smith said. “We’re ready to play. We’re not the biggest team, but they work hard.”

Smith said despite the relative youth of the squad, he’s seen several players step into leadership roles.

“We’ve had several step up,” he said. “Dustin Wooley has and Ian Briggs took over the quarterback job. It’ll be his first start. We’re still a work in progress. We’re so young, we learn something new every day.”

With the Chargers so dependent on young players looking to learn, Smith said the opener would be a test to see how the team gels.

“We’re just excited,” he said. “We have so many new starters, we’re not sure what to expect.”

While the Chargers are mostly made up of younger players — there are only four seniors on the 20-man roster — Smith said Coosa Valley is relying on a new group of players as well.

“Truthfully, (we) don’t know a whole lot about them this year,” he said. “Coach Hudson is a good coach. It’s not hard to get kids to work hard when facing your rival.”

The Chargers have several players who lack experience, but also boast of having senior leadership in Tim Warren, who will play in several roles on offense as well as Dalton Fortner, who will anchor the offensive line.

Whichever team can conquer their nerves first has the best chance at taking home bragging rights, Smith said.

“It’s so hard to tell,” he said. “Turnovers will be huge. The team that settles down, hangs on to the ball and executes is going to win the game.”

The game will kick off at 7 p.m. at Michael B. Willis Memorial Field, located at 24975 Alabama 25, Columbiana.