By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The 2016 season was a chance for the Munford Cougars to make the playoffs an annual event around town.
After two impressive runs to the postseason in 2014 and 2015, the Cougars entered last season with a new quarterback in Nathan Davenport and new head coach in Nick Markle. The transitions and changes led to a up and down campaign.
Munford finished 5-5 with a 2-4 mark in league play. Despite a few lows, the highlights of rivalry wins and a talented Class of 2018 returning have given the 2017 Munford Football squad hopes for a return to the playoffs.
“We had a lot of ups and downs,” Munford senior defensive end Marcus Webb said. “We finished out pretty solid. We played together and we finished strong.”
Webb was consistently strong through 2016 leading the team in tackles from an end position with more than 70 stops. He was a terror in the backfield stopping quarterbacks and running backs.
Webb will be lending his speed to the offensive side in 2017 to help the unit featuring Chaz Hayes, Kylan Washington and Cole Edrington. Other key Cougars to watch in 2017 will be TJ Scott, Will Hawkins, Caleb Hall and Davenport.
Davenport enters his senior season with more confidence being a veteran of the system. Markle will employ his signal caller to operate the running attack and participate at times. In addition, he will be counted on for timely passing.
Earlier this month Davenport led the Cougars to a third place finish at the St. Benedict 7-on-7 competition against schools known for passing like St. Benedict, Houston, Millington and more.
“We had a lot of competition,” Davenport said. “We finished off on most of the teams. We upset a lot teams there.
“I’m much more comfortable this year,” he added. “I trust these guys more this year. And they trust me more. It was pressure last year. But it’s a new year and I feel pretty confident about this year.”
Markle noted Davenport has been in the offensive system for several years working along the majority of those who will take the field with him this year.
Davenport said the confidence from his head coach and support of his teammates will boost him in 2017.
“I’m expecting a lot out of this team this year,” he said. “We’ve been playing together for a long time. We’ve been playing together since we were little kids. I just feel real comfortable with this team. I feel real confident about this season.”
Webb said all phases of the ball have to build off of the showing from St. Benedict. And the defensive stud noted the hunger will be there to return back to the postseason.
“We don’t even throw the ball and we went to a 7-on-7 and came in third place at St. Benedict,” he concluded. “We expect to come out strong. We’re expecting playoffs.”