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Commerce High School football season preview

Head coach Wells hopes for quick turnaround

By Caleb Slinkard
On July 13, 2010

Coach Scott Wells is not shy about his plans for Commerce High School's varsity football team. Despite a 1-9 record last year, Wells's first year with the Tigers, he's optimistic about their immediate and long-term future.

"For me, a successful season is to make the playoffs," Wells said. "That's our number one goal. Our second goal is to have a winning record. For both me and the students, that's somewhat underachieving. But after being 1-9 last season, it's a pretty big jump to 9-1. We're not quite ready to make that jump yet, but that's the direction we want to move in."

Turning the football program around will be a tall task. Commerce is near the bottom in number of students in 3A, and often has to play students on both offense and defense.

"We have to instill discipline and toughness into our program," Wells said. "I'm not saying that wasn't there before, but I know that's something we have to do. We're on the small end of 3A as it is, so we have to maximize the number of kids we have playing."

Commerce returns only 10 or 11 seniors, led by running back/defensive back Jurace Brown, the Tigers top scoring threat last season. Wells hopes that the Tigers won't have to rely solely on Brown this season.

"Brown is a competitor, but it would be nice to spread the ball around," he said. "Part of our weakness last year was that everyone knew that he was the player you had to stop. This year, you're going to have to decide who you to stop."

For Commerce to reach their previous success, Wells has to start from the ground up.

"Our big focus is taking care of the middle schoolers, because that's where it all starts," he said. "If you can get a student hooked on football early, you can have him the whole way through."

While winning is certainly Wells's main goal, creating a family atmosphere is also a must for the football program.

"At the younger levels, having coaches that care about you goes a long way for kids," he said. "They don't want to just be part of a program where they're somebody, they want to be part of a program that's a family. We want to be the Tiger family."

A major difference this season for the Tigers is the larger number of students on the team. This will allow some players, specifically the offensive linemen, to play only one way.

"We had 23 kids on varsity last year, so we had a lot of kids playing both sides of the ball," Wells said. "We've got enough depth at the skill positions that we should be to give our skill players breather on both sides of the ball."

Another year in Coach Wells' system will help the Tigers become a better football team.

"Last year we went into the season with a quarterback who hadn't played in two years, we hadn't played 7 on 7, and it was a new system," he said. "We'll be a lot more balanced this year."

The Tigers begin two-a-day practices on August 2.

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