Columbus teaching with experience
Despite a disappointing 2013 campaign, Columbus Community football is looking to bounce back in 2014.
After a 1-8 finish last year, the Wildcats are looking to one of its top returners in junior Mauricio Ramirez to lead the team in a resurgence.
Ramirez finished 2013 as an All-District kick returner, averaging over 20 yards per return in 2013, with one touchdown. He also ran for 1,185 yards and 10 touchdowns as the team’s primary tailback, while catching 13 passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns.
As Ramirez enters his junior season, the coaching staff is expecting a big year out of him.
“He’s expecting a big year out of himself,” Columbus head coach Jeff Martin said. “He’s worked really hard, made himself faster, and attended some good camps to make himself better. He’s expecting big things and so are we, out of the running back
Overall, the Wildcats return 11 starters from 2014, but one position that isn’t returning is the two-year tenured quarterback.
Taking over that spot will be sophomore Carter Colby, listed at 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, who threw one pass for the Wildcats last season which went for a 66-yard touchdown.
“We had a two-year starter decide he didn’t want to play and that’s OK, but we have to move on,” Martin said. “Our quarterback will be Carter Colby, a sophomore, and he’s been throwing the ball well all summer. Austin Edwards is a guy who has been helping us out quite a bit, but that’s a position that is inexperienced.”
One of Martin’s keys to this season is to utilize the numerous returners on both sides of the ball, and have them help out the young players filling key roles.
“We have a lot of experience in key positions, but what we have to do is have those experienced guys help our younger guys who are just learning,” Martin said. “We are relatively young in some spots, but we have a couple of guys who are going to help us out. That is going to help us out tremendously, having that experience.”
Defensively, the top returners come from the linebacking corps of DJ Beechum, Austin Edwards and Chase Finke.
The three are the top returning tacklers for the Wildcats led by Finke’s 47 last season, followed by Beechum (46) and Edwards (39).
Defense has been a point of emphasis for Martin’s squad so far in camp.
“My expectations are to tackle better,” Martin said. “We have not tackled well in a couple years and we need to do a better job there. We are changing the defensive line a bit and putting more guys at the line of scrimmage, so we are hoping to stuff the run a bit better than we have the last couple years.”
With 11 seniors listed on the roster, the Wildcats are keeping their goals simple for 2014, and then letting the pieces fall into place.
“My goals are for this team to get better every week and to compete at a high level, and be as successful as we can be,” Martin said. “The most important thing for these guys is to grow and get through adversity. Football is a tool to make them better men.”
Columbus will open up its season at home against WACO on Aug. 29.