Will there be flying footballs for Cougars in 2018?

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PINETOPS — Rumors are flying about the frequency of flying footballs when the SouthWest Edgecombe High varsity football offense lines up for the 2018 season.

Head coach Jonathan Cobb, who is beginning his sixth season, has even read about a new pass offense that will be prominent in the scheme as his Cougars bid for at least a share of the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference championship for the fourth consecutive year.

“We ran the football 16 of those 20 plays. What was (that person) looking at?” Cobb remarked with a grin as he watched his players participate in various drills Monday evening.

Yet, Cobb doesn’t deny he mentions throwing the football more frequently at the outset of 2018. He’s excited about the presence of a pair of potential gifted receivers and is eager to see if his quarterbacks can get them the football.

“We are really excited about the opportunity to throw a little bit. We hope to increase throwing the football from about four percent of the time last year to 14 percent this year,” he revealed, again with a grin.

The first live opportunity for the Cougars against opposition other than themselves comes in a scrimmage at Washington at 6 p.m. Friday. On Friday, SouthWest will be among eight teams participating in the annual Tarboro Jamboree. The starting time is 6 p.m.

The Cougars kick off the regular season at home against Pasquotank Central on Friday, Aug. 17.

Entering the second week of practice, an expected turnout of some 75 candidates — including 40 for the varsity — has remained constant. Cobb is hopeful more freshmen report when school is back in session.

Sending the athletes through their paces are Cobb, varsity assistants Eric Duff, Glenn Warren, Joe Williams, Fred Sponhaltz, Devonte Arnold and Kevin Darden and the junior varsity staff of head coach Warren and assistants Bruce Morton, Milton Bridgers and Steve Lewis.

Injuries have been avoided with the exception of a hamstring issue for 300-pound junior lineman Kaleb Taylor. Junior wide receiver Keishon Porter did not practice Monday because of sickness.

Despite frequent thunderstorms the first week, Cougars prospects worked out from 6 until 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 9 p.m. Friday until 1 a.m. Saturday to wrap up the first week.

“We’ve only had half of a practice inside,” Cobb proudly noted, “but we have practiced in the pouring-down rain. We are glad to be able to get outside and not having to deal with the having-to-stay-inside stuff.”

Cobb reports defensive work thus far has emphasized fundamentals and technique.

Offensively, well, attention has been directed to new formations and new plays.

“We’ll be run-dominant, but we will probably line up a lot of different ways,” Cobb hinted. “That’s all contingent upon how we look in scrimmages and early-season.”

Sounds like the smash-mouth wishbone offense hasn’t yet succumbed to those aerial rumors.