Zion Chapel looks to replace talented senior class

Published 9:48 pm Monday, August 6, 2012

Mike Waters and his staff at Zion Chapel face a tough task in 2012. The Rebels must replace 13 seniors, all who had significant contributions during the “dream season” a year ago.

Zion Chapel won eight games in 2011, its most since 1979. Gone from last year’s team is three year starting middle linebacker Brian Cobb, workhorse running back Dustin Riggsbee , do-everything player Blake Powell and several other key position players

“We lost some mighty good football players,” said Waters. “Some of the guys were two or three year starters, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. We lost both corners and our inside backer, and on offense it sure hurts to lose Riggsbee. He did a good job for us all year.

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Despite the losses, Waters remains optimistic about the returning players.

The Rebels welcome back dual-threat quarterback LaMarcus Adair, utility player Mickey Cox and two anchors on the offensive line Kaleb Smith and Terry Flowers

“We have some kids that played a lot of football,” Waters said. “The loss of the seniors creates opportunity for the younger guys. Guys like Ryan Allen, Mickey Cox, Blake Lewis and others are excited about the new year.”

The 2011 season saw Zion Chapel win eight games, and finish second in 2A Region 2. In 2012, the Rebels will look to repeat last season’s success against a mix of old rivals and couple of new opponents.

Restructuring the region added Luverne and Central –Hayneville. G.W. Long replaces Pleasant Home as the first game of the season. Old region foes Elba, Goshen, New Brockton and Highland Home are still there, as well as non-region games against rivals Kinston and Ariton.

In 2011, Waters adopted a motto, “Run to win.”

Waters said he knew that his team did not have the speed or athleticism to match up against some of the other teams in the state, but said his team would be very well conditioned. The staff at Zion Chapel has upped their conditioning this summer in preparation of 2012.

“We have had probably the best summer workouts we have had since I got to Zion Chapel,” said Waters. “Some of our guys will have to go both ways and play for 48 minutes a game, and conditioning is the key of that.”

The Rebels opened practice Monday, and have 25 days to prepare for their opening game against G.W. Long.