4 Questions with Irwin County Football Head Coach Casey Soliday

4 Questions with Irwin County Head Football Coach Casey Soliday

Q. Coach Soliday, congratulations on making it to a 2nd straight state championship game.  What was the key winning through the playoffs to get here?
A.Basically been the same as it has been for the last few years. Establish the run game. Our offensive line has been really good this year and seem to have gotten better through the playoffs. That has helped us set up some passes and take some shots down field. Defensively it has been about playing fast and physical. We had some questions defensively when the year started about our defensive line and defensive backs. We felt our linebackers would be pretty solid. The defensive backs struggled some early but have really gotten better this year as the season has went on. Our defensive line has done the same.

Q. A lot of people thought after losing so many key players, including the Benyard twins, that this was going to be a rebuilding year. Back at the beginning of the year, did you think you had the team to get  back to the finals again?
A. Wasnt really sure. I thought we had the potential to be pretty good but there was many questions out there. As summer went on and I saw how these seniors pushed the younger guys to get better and stronger in the weight room I started thinking this is a good sign. Then when we went to some OTA’s and watched how some of the younger guys were performing and how our offensive line and defensive lines were developing I believed we had a chance. Then came a couple really good non region games where we lost but really took over the games physically, but just made some mistakes by some younger guys that we knew we could fix. Thats when we started really believing this team had a chance to be really good.
Q. Who have been the key guys in making this season so special?
A. Offensively we will start with our offensive line, William Johnson, Toby Brown, Noah Brown, Antawii Deans, Hunter Tyson and Eli Roberts have really did a great job. Damarkas Lundy has been a work horse for us rushing for almost 1600 yards and 19 TD’s. Shane Marshall, a freshman, has rushed for 700 yards. Cody Soliday has done a really good job at QB for us this year throwing for 1700 yards and 26 TD’s. The best part is he has only thrown 2 interceptions for the year. Defensively our linebackers of Nemo McCoy, Matthew Payne, Bryce Clements, Ricky Smith and Marcus Edwards have done an outstanding job. They were what held us together defensively as we waited on our secondary and defensive line to grow up. Bo Payne in the secondary has 7 interceptions this year and has done a great job creating turnovers for us. Our kicker Cooper Yanzetich, has been great converting extra points this year and kicking FG’s. He also has done a great job punting and kicking off.
Q.  Your team will play Brooks County again. You defeated them past year, and then again earlier in the regular season. Its tough to beat a team twice in the same season, or three times in a row especially ? What will it take to do it again, Coach Soliday?
A.We will have to play an almost perfect game. They have so many weapons on offense that it is tough to contain them all. We will have to tackle very well also. If 10 gets in the open field bad things happen so we have to contain him. There defense is very aggressive and fast. We will have to use that to our advantage and try to have productive drives. Even if its not a scoring drive we have to get a couple first downs to control the clock and to put our defense in a situation where Brooks does not have a short field.
Written by: Phil Jones
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