Rebels building excitement under new head coach

Published 3:00 am Thursday, May 19, 2016

After spending the last two weeks practicing, the Zion Chapel Rebels will finish the spring schedule with a game against J.F. Shields on Friday.

It has been an exciting spring for the Rebels. They welcomed a familiar face in Bubba Nall as head coach and excitement is evident. The program includes 86 players this year, up from 45 a year ago.

“We have a huge amount of enthusiasm and the kids are excited,” Nall said. “I think the community has felt the excitement through our kids and we are excited about it.”

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The Rebels will dress 50 of their 86 players on the varsity roster in 2016.

The Rebels, along with the community are hungry for success in 2016. Since 1980 the Rebels have had just four winning seasons, the last of which came four years ago when they finished 8-3.

Job one for Nall will be changing a culture that he hopes will consist of a community that is excited about Rebels football.

“I am trying to change the culture,” Nall said. “That’s for my football team, the cheerleaders, the band and the student body. This is our school and we all need to be excited about it and be involved. They are catching on to that, and it is exciting to watch.”

Nall was an assistant coach for the Rebels for two years and transitioned to head coach after Bradley Bowers left. So far the transition has been a smooth one

“Coach Bowers was an outstanding coach,” Nall said. “It was a smooth transition because I was here. They have accepted me. Winning the locker room is the biggest thing, and the first thing that a new head coach needs to do and I think we have done that in a great way.”

Nall brings an aggressive style of play to the Rebels on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Nall will center his offense on the option game, but will turn to passing as well.

“I am more of an option guy,” Nall said. “We are going to throw the ball a little bit more. We are going to spread the ball from the numbers to the numbers. On defense we are going to attack and react. We are not going to sit on our heels. We are trying to be aggressive while lifting weights, at practice, on the dummy and in the classroom.”

The Rebels will be able to put their practice to work when they take on the Panthers.

“I am excited because we have worked hard in the weight room and we have transitioned that to the practice field,” Nall said. “I am looking to see if we can transition it from the practice fields to the game … J.F. Shields has a good football team with a new head coach. I think we are mirror programs right now. We both can use this spring game to springboard us into a good summer program.”

The Rebels and the Panthers will close out spring practice when they kick things off at Greene Memorial Stadium in Jack at 7 p.m.