Prediction: Cornerstone ready for new era in 2022
Published 4:56 pm Wednesday, August 3, 2022
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor
COLUMBIANA – With the AISA creating an 8-man division ahead of the 2022 football season, the Cornerstone Chargers will take advantage of the opportunity.
A better fit for the numbers on this year’s team, Cornerstone is hoping to take charge in the new region with a strong group of returning players, which includes multiple sophomores.
The Chargers haven’t had a ton of success the last few years, but heading into year six under head coach James Lee, this new opportunity is one that has a renewed sense of excitement among the coaches and players.
It also helps that they’ll return several key players and some of last year’s top athletes, starting with quarterback Zeke Adams.
Still just a sophomore, Adams earned the starting role as a freshman last year and showcased his potential. It was young potential a season ago, but that is starting to turn into experience, as he learned lessons throughout the year.
Now, he is expected to take a big leap going into this season. Adams has a big arm, but he has now learned that he doesn’t always have to make the big play down the field, but instead, making the right read is what can make the difference.
He can also rely on two returning sophomore running backs this season. Both Cohen Hewitt and James Wilson are returning this season and bring different styles to the table.
Hewitt is a quick running back who can make a cut and beat defenders, while Wilson is a powerful guy who will be expected to tire out defenses.
That strong run game will also help open up the passing game, which will feature a deep group of receivers. Senior Logan Lightsey returns as one of the team’s most experienced players, while Noah Schober is a big-play receiver. Several others are also showing excitement at the position heading into the season, including Drake Dunning, Thomas Graham, TC Sanders and Hunter Carden.
The biggest hit to the entire team will come up front on both sides of the ball.
Cornerstone will lose Warren Goodwin and Justus Adams, who were leaders on both sides of the ball the last two years.
Offensively, Landon Alexander will be the leader of the line, while Gabe Allman and Malachi Adams also have potential with good builds for the position.
Those three will also play on the defensive line consistently, which makes finding depth an important key to success and a concern until it is proven on the field.
At linebacker, James Wilson will step up to be the leader, while Moore and Malachi Adams could also play here. Cash Causey and Graham may also add depth.
The team’s best athletes will back them up in the secondary, including Zeke Adams, Carden and Sanders.
Staying healthy will be key for the entire defense with depth still trying to emerge early in fall practice, while special teams is also still a spot the Chargers are trying to figure out.
Prediction (4-6): Playing in a region full of 8-man teams, Cornerstone should be on much more of a level playing field than they have been the last several years. That said, the Chargers still have plenty to prove. They’ll be able to compete in just about every game, but we haven’t seen them win several in one season in a few years. This year, the offense has a lot of young potential that could make them a contender in 8-man play, but the defense will have to find depth very quickly, and they’ll have to stay healthy. Cornerstone could hover around a .500 team or put together their first winning season since 2017. It all just depends on how fast a young team grows up.