100 years and counting: the Red Raider football team finally steps up

Tyler Smith, sophomore, prepares for the play at Fridays game against Shelbyville.

Tyler Smith, sophomore, prepares for the play at Friday’s game against Shelbyville.

Cass Douglas, Copy Editor and Historical Highlights Editor

This Friday, Aug. 26, the Red Raider football team won back the coveted Coffee Pot trophy, in almost comedic timing. The season recently opened its 100th year, and running back Coach Stephen Graves shared his thoughts.

Graves is an alumni of Coffee County Central High School with a long-standing attachment to the area, saying he’s “been blessed to be able to choose where I want to work and where I want to be, and there’s really no other place I’d want to be this year…” 

Graves also shares his opinion on the improvement seen from players both on and off the football field. He highlights Konor Heaton, senior starting running back for the offense, for improving off the field in terms of his leadership ability after suffering from a season-ending knee injury during his freshman year in 2019. Heaton is further congratulated by Graves for displaying tons of talent and a wonderful work ethic.

Graves was asked what has changed the most since he was a member of the CCCHS team. “There’s a greater emphasis now on player health, injury prevention, maintaining the heat…” he states, “We didn’t have heat index regulations. We had two a days, sometimes three practices in one day.” He also shares that he finally sees the same vigor and expectation to win returning to both the players and stands.

Since the season has just started, fans are excited to see what the rest of the 100th year of Raider Football has in store.