“There is nothing that beats experience,” said Kovzel, the Ola head football coach. “Any time you get kids with experience that is great. You always want to make sure your older guys can guide the younger ones in the right direction.”
Kovzel has a few of those “older guys” returning this season and he said his younger players are learning quickly.
Those leaders include Okafa Charles, Cole Bailey and Tyler Wesson.
“These guys are very coachable and I think the passing league we participated in this summer has really helped them along,” Kovzel said.
Kovzel said there are several players who should contribute early.
He said senior quarterback C.J. Carr has starting experience and should be a force for the Mustangs. He said senior linebacker JoJo Spann and senior defensive lineman Jimmy Carman should help the defensive effort. Kovzel said Connor Schlottman and Tyler Jenkins should contribute a lot to this year’s team.
Kovzel said the Mustangs have a bunch of guys who know the system, and got accustomed to the Friday night lights last season.
Ola opens the season against Eagle’s Landing and Locust Grove. Region play begins Oct. 5 against Union Grove.
Ola has not had a winning season in six years of existence, but Kovzel said his players this season exude some of the attributes of a winning team.
“I can’t wait to watch these guys make history here at Ola,” Kovzel said.
Reclassification put Ola in Region 4AAAAA, subregion A with Union Grove, Mount Zion, Drew, Forest Park and Mundy’s Mill. Kovzel said getting that first winning season will be tough, but it is attainable.
Kovzel said there is a certain foundation he has tried to put down for his team in the past four-plus years as head coach.
“You have to lay that foundation because if the kids see you putting in time and effort for them, then they will respond,” Kovzel said. “They want to play for someone who is going to put the time in with them. You have to show the kids you are buying into them.”