ST. CLAIR TWP. — Edgewood High football coach Scott Clemmons won’t hesitate to bring tradition into the equation.
And as the 2019 season approaches, there may not be much more historic value for his Cougars than right about now.
“This will be our 50th year of Edgewood football,” said Clemmons, making note of when Trenton and Seven Mile both consolidated in 1969 to form Edgewood.
“Those men in the early seventies paved the way,” Clemmons added. “They’ve built a good foundation, and they gave everyone a good idea as to what it means to be an Edgewood football player.
“This group has something very special to play for being the 50th team with Edgewood helmets,” Clemmons continued. “They’ve got Edgewood on their jersey, now let’s uphold that tradition of excellence and what we expect from our young men on the field.”
Edgewood went 8-3 and fell to Southwest Ohio Conference rival Little Miami 10-7 in the opening round of the Division II playoffs.
The Cougars will be working without last year’s SWOC rushing leaders in Wade Phillips and Elijah Williams, who amassed a combined 2,449 total yards on the ground their senior season.
Judging by preseason workouts, Clemmons said there are plenty of options to fill those shoes.
“We’ve got great attendance right now,” he said. “They’re working hard as a group and they’re gelling as a team. They’re really motivating each other and realizing that what happened last year happened last year. Those guys are gone, it’s a new season. It’s time for some new guys to shine. And for some guys, they’ll have to step up and do better than what they did last year.”
Senior tailback Alex Gavern played a good portion of downs a season ago. He said the Cougars are primed.
“We’ve got a lot of talent coming back,” Gavern said. “We’ve all been putting in the hard work this preseason, and we are all pretty excited. We’ve been knocking out the endurance training, which was something we struggled with a little last year. But right now, we’re getting all of that straightened out.”
“We’re not going to be outworked by any team on any given Friday night or in the weight room,” Clemmons added. “We preach that other men are working hard out there. But we have to do twice what they are doing.
“That’s the thing about Edgewood football is that we talk to them about the expectations, and I think you have to communicate that with them,” Clemmons continued. “As coaches, sometimes we keep talking about that league championship and stuff like that — the goal-setting things. From there, it’s nice to have a goal, but what are going to do to get there. Now that’s when the work starts. For any team around the country, that’s your first goal — to win a league championship. Now let’s put in the work. Where does that happen? It’s got to happen in the weight room. And these guys are responding well.”
The Cougars kick off the season at home against Monroe on Friday, Aug. 30 at 7 p.m.
Follow this reporter on Twitter @BCHSSReport. Chris Vogt can be reached at (513) 225-3274 or at info@BCHSSReport.com