Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer|
Barry Daniel, right, returns to Clements as head football coach after a year at Cherokee High. Two years ago, he led the Colts to a 5-5 season. Now he hopes the keep the momentum going at the Class 3A school in Limestone County. Assistant coach Jason Black is at left.
Clements coach looking for senior leadership to continue Colts’ progress
Tenth in a series.
By Ashley Hargrove
CLEMENTS — When Clements head coach Barry Daniel left to take the coaching job at Cherokee High last year, he knew something didn’t feel right.
So when the head coaching position at Clements became vacant again in the off-season, he applied, hoping to get a chance to return to a place he said is like home.
Daniel got exactly what he had hoped for when Clements hired him.
Now he’s back, ready to pick up where he left off.
“This place just felt like home to me,” Daniel said.
“It’s a good place to work. The kids are great and their attitudes are great. I was fortunate to get the opportunity to come back.”
Daniel added: “When I left it just didn’t feel like the right thing to do. They always say go with your gut feeling and I didn’t feel like I had that. I wish I would have stayed, but you live and you learn.”
Daniel paced Clements to a 5-5 season in 2005 after the school had won only 10 games in five years. Daniel had served as an assistant at Russellville for 10 years before his first run at Clements.
Under Daniel, the Colts barely missed the playoffs and posted their first .500 season in nearly a decade. That success carried over into last season, helping the Colts finish third in Class 3A, Region 8 and earning a playoff spot, the first in 15 years. They completed a 4-7 record and fell 40-22 to Leeds in the first round of the state playoffs.
“It’s been quite a while since Clements has had a winning season,” Daniel said. “We got the ball rolling two years ago, and things seem to keep moving in the right direction. This year’s seniors have seen that, and they are determined to keep it going.”
Clements safety Michael Moss is one of 11 seniors striving to do just that.
“Last year’s seniors laid the foundation for us,” Moss said. “We’re going to take last year’s playoff run in to this season and use it as motivation. As a senior, you always set goals to win. Our goal this year is to make it past the first round. We want the underclassmen to see how it’s done so they can keep what we have going.”
Defensively, the Colts return seven starters. Brad Smith, who was selected as an all-state linebacker by the Alabama Sports Writers Association, returns for his senior season. So does defensive end Chas Billiter.
Kyle Taylor, a three-year starter, should receive playing time at defensive tackle, and Moss will play at safety. The Colts also return juniors Seth Bachelor and Jacob Eaton. Cody Rose, a senior transfer from West Limestone, is expected to compete for playing time as well.
Offensively, the Colts are filling holes created by graduation. As of now, Daniel said they are still in the process of filling the quarterback and kicking spots.
Although practice just began last week, Daniel said he’s pleased with what he has seen so far. “We had a good practice last week,” Daniel said. “We’re progressing along. Our guys have been working hard and giving it their best. Hopefully, things will come together for us.”
Clements at a glance
Last year: 4-7. Made it to the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs.
Head coach: Barry Daniel (5-5 in one season at Clements; 7-13 in two seasons as a head coach).
Noteworthy: Daniel returns as the Colts’ head coach after leaving to take the coaching job at Cherokee High School last season. ... The Colts made their first playoff appearance since 1991 last season after earning a third-place finish in Class 3A, Region 8. ... All-state linebacker Brad Smith returns to pace the Colts’ defense.
Clements High schedule, results
Save $84.50 a year off our newsstand price:
||at Elkmont (R)
|| Sheffield (R)
||at Colbert Heights (R)
||Colbert County (R)
||at Lauderdale County (R)
||West Limestone (R)
|| at Ardmore
|vs. Colbert Heights
|at Colbert County
|vs. Lauderdale Co.
|at West Limestone
Subscribe today for only 38 cents a day!