- Cuthbertson High School (hs)
Preview for Cuthbertson Varsity Football 2021
A change of mindset has been found amongst the Cuthbertson Varsity Football team in 2021. Second-year head coach Trey Kavanaugh has implemented a new playstyle, new identity, and new goals this season that will ultimately lead to one thing: winning.
Building a successful program starts in the offseason. However, due to COVID restrictions, offseason preparation was a challenge. “When I first heard about the offseason being postponed, I was super bummed, but I knew it meant I just had to work even harder. The best players grind when there’s no one watching. I kept this as motivation and really brought it to my teammates’ attention as well,” said team co-captain Carson Torsza (SR).
So, to prepare for the season, the team had to adapt. Kavanaugh and the coaching staff partnered with numerous workout facilities and personal trainers to provide the players with online workout sessions. Accountability leaders were set in place to make sure everyone on the team was keeping up on a daily basis. The offseason program proved to be effective, as Kavanugh said, “When we finally got to come back together for conditioning in July, it was incredible how our kids were not only in shape but had improved themselves while away from the team. It’s one of the proudest moments in my young career.”
AJ Colombo (JR) had some high praise for the coaches’ offseason program. “The coaches did an amazing job keeping the team in shape by sending out various workout plans to fit anyone’s weight room situation at home.”
As in-person team practices started building up, Coach Kavanaugh wanted to bring a different approach to the team's style of play for the 2021 season. “In 2019, we were an under-center team that wanted to create shorter games in order to help the defense out. This year, we are transitioning on both offense and defense to a more open and aggressive playing style. We have a mobile QB and plenty of weapons for him to work with, so the goal is to put up plenty of points.”
The team took this approach to their first game-like scenario in a scrimmage vs Ardrey Kell. Ardrey Kell boasted an 11-2 record last season, so this scrimmage would be a great measuring stick on where the team stands. Kavanaugh said, “We started off a little rocky against the very well-coached Knights but when the rust was shaken the kids performed really well on both sides of the ball… the kids were fearless and never backed down.”
With a scrimmage under the team’s belt, their season opened against Parkwood. Last year, Parkwood laid a hard hit on Quarterback Evan Bernard knocking him out of the game en route to victory. “We want to beat them badly,” Kavanaugh said. “The kids and coaches are taking the season opener personally.”
It clearly was personal, as they routed Parkwood 42-8. This win meant a lot for the program, and to the recipient of the late hit last season, Evan Bernard, who ended the game with 133 yards through the air on 17/19 attempts, plus 80 yards with a pair of touchdowns on the ground. “As a team, we have been preparing for this game for quite a while… we all had the mindset to just dominate and it showed. Personally, it felt amazing to be back after they took that shot on me last year. Once I scored that first touchdown it was a feeling like nothing else.”
AJ Colombo added, “There was no better motivation this offseason than thinking of what happened last year… They came back to beat us in a game we should have easily won. We knew what the result would be this year but needless to say, it was a great feeling.”
After watching the scrimmage against Ardrey Kell, season opener versus Parkwood, and second game versus Piedmont, I asked Coach Kavanaugh what exactly the identity of the team is right now. He answered, “Easy, FEARLESS. Not in the sense that “fearless” is often thought of but in the sense of self-confidence and trust. We aren’t jumping out of a plane with no fear of hitting the ground, we are packing out our own parachutes and trusting that our teammates did the same thing. We want to be prepared to the utmost degree and that will allow us to play without fear of failure.”
With five games left in the regular season, the Cavaliers are far from satisfied after their back to back blowout wins. Torsza said, “Our team goal and my personal goal for this year is to win a state championship. Our team is determined to make a statement this year and we have the coaching staff, players, and community to make it happen.”
Coach Kavanaugh shared the same thoughts, “We want results this year. Our goal is to show that this team is a contender, not only in our league but in the entire state.”
The 2-0 Cavaliers will take on the 1-1 Monroe Redhawks in Cavalier Stadium on Friday, March 12 @7:30 PM.
Written by CHS Senior Michael Garrity
Posted March 9, 2021