Woodland football gearing up for 2015
First-year head coach, Tony Plott, understands he is taking over a tough situation at Woodland High School. After all, the football team was winless in 2014.
In fact, the Wildcats’ only winning season was in the school’s second year of existence, 1999, when the Wildcats finished 7-4 and lost to Westlake in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs. The football program at Woodland has compiled three .500 (5-5) seasons since, but has only won one-third of its games on the gridiron since its inception.
Plott, who rises to the football head coaching position after serving as a coordinator with the Wildcats, is striving to make the changes he believes are needed to change the culture. “We’ve focused on team chemistry and our work ethic during the off-season and summer. The kids have responded well and they’ve done a great job,” said Plott. “Our team chemistry is the best I’ve ever seen in my time here.” A Gainesville, GA native who played his high school football at East Hall High School for coach Wayne Bradshaw, Plott takes over the head coach reins for the first time in his coaching career. Plott played his college football at Catawba College in Salisbury, NC and is a graduate of the University of West Georgia. He is married to the former Robin Silvers. They have two daughters, a son, and are expecting their fourth child in October. “We’re pretty deep-rooted here. Obviously, our plan is to get this thing turned around,” claimed the coach.
Like all other programs across the state of Georgia, the Wildcats began their first official practices of the 2015 season Monday (July 27). Woodland, and most other programs across Georgia, have been preparing since the end of last season and throughout the summer.
As part of their summer preparation last week, the new Woodland head coach took his team to a camp near his home town. “We attended FCA Football Camp at Riverside Military Academy. It was an outstanding week. The football experience was great. We got to compete against some good teams and our guys walked away with some confidence,” noted Plott.
“More importantly, we had 20 of our athletes and my 11-year old son to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. That was great and a proud event for me as a dad and a coach,” smiled the ‘Cats leader.
Plott discussed plans for the next few days at practices.
“We will re-install our offense and our defense this week during the two-hour conditioning period practices,” he said.
Woodland, who plays in the same 14-school region and sub-region with local rival Cass (Region 7-AAAAA, Sub-Region A), will keep much of last year’s schemes in place for offense and defense.
“We will be an even front, 4-4 defense. On offense, we will be a multiple, wing-T team,” noted Plott. “We will range from an empty set to two tight ends. We will show three backs in the backfield at times. We plan to be varied, multiple, and formation opponents with matchup problems,” added the coach.
Coach Plott will rely on his senior class to lead in 2015.
“We have a really strong senior class,” the coach commented. “We will count on guys like Grant Quick (FS) to lead. He’s like having an extra coach on the field.”
Plott was quick to point out many of his team’s other leaders. “Seniors Brady Jernigan (OT, DL), Dalton May (OL, DL), Zack Neal (OL), and Brett Shedd (OG) are all leaders for us up front. We will have to lean on those guys a lot this year,” he said.
“We are working two quarterbacks right now. Grant Robinson (QB, LB) and Jarvis James (QB, RB) are both seniors. They are doing a good job and improving daily,” the coach continued.
“Plus we have guys like Jonathan Applin (RB, WR, DB) who can play just about any position and Phelan Philpot (OLB, RB). They are also seniors and expected leaders,” noted Plott. Woodland will have just over two weeks of official preseason conditioning and practices prior to a controlled scrimmage with Cartersville August 14. The Wildcats will open their 2015 season Thursday, August 27 at Adairsville.
“We’re going to be exciting. We’re putting an exciting brand of football together. It should be fun to watch,” Plott pointed out.
“We have a great atmosphere at games. Our band and our cheerleaders do a wonderful job and we want to provide a matching level of quality on the field. I think our kids can do that,” the coach concluded.
Following the season opener at Adairsville, the Wildcats travel to Forsyth Central September 4. Their home opener will be September 11 against Sprayberry. Woodland will have home games this season against River Ridge (Sept. 25), Creekview (Oct. 9), and Sequoyah (Oct. 30), plus a Region 7-AAAAA crossover game on November 6 will be hosted this year by the Wildcats. Road games for 2015 include Cass (Oct. 2 ), Rome (Oct. 16), and Dalton (Oct. 23).
You can listen to high school football coverage live on your computer, on your mobile device, and on your radio this season via Bartow Sports Zone and AM1270 WYXC Cartersville. On this site, just use the menu at the top of the page to select ‘Football Broadcasts.’ Then click the play button on the screen. That will connect you with our radio partner AM1270 WYXC Cartersville. The broadcast schedule includes games involving all four Cartersville and Bartow County football schools — Adairsville, Cartersville, Cass, and Woodland. The broadcast schedule opens with Adairsville at Ridgeland (August 21), Woodland at Adairsville (August 27), and Cartersville at Cass (August 28). In all, BSZ and WYXC will have live broadcasts of 13 regular season games. Bartow Sports Zone and AM1270 WYXC will also broadcast a Friday morning (7am to 8am) coaches show throughout the entire high school season through the playoffs. Coaches from all four local programs are scheduled as regular guests to talk about their teams, upcoming games, and high school football in gneral. Charles Wilson will host the weekly coaches show along with Jason Greenberg of The Daily Tribune News. Wilson will perform the play-by-play duties on the games.
Coach Plott will be one of the featured guests on the Bartow Sports Zone radio show Friday, July 31 along with Cartersville High School head coach, Joey King.