COVINGTON, Ga. -- Just two short years ago, things were beginning to change at Cousins Middle School.
For years prior, the Cardinal’s football team had the dark cloud of a failing program cast over it. The team saw several years of losing seasons, and frequently were not respected by opposing teams.
That all changed when coach Patrick Jones took over, and in two short years, he led his team to back-to-back NewRock championship game appearances, the final one culminating in a championship that capped off an undefeated season.
But once again, change has arrived on the Cardinals’ gridiron. Jones has accepted a role as defensive line coach at the newly created Denmark High School, and now the reigns of the program have been taken by Kenneth Whetstone, who unlike Jones, will be looking to maintain the program’s success rather than rebuild it.
“I am fortunate to have inherited the program at Cousins,” Whetstone said. “The administrative team as well as the faculty and staff have been very supportive. I will be following coach Jones who is now referred to as the GOAT, ‘greatest of all time,’ but most importantly, I’ve inherited a great group of kids.”
Following Jones will not be as difficult as it seems either, as Whetstone plans to retain most of the “X’s and O’s” already put in place.
“Some minor adjustments may be needed once we have had a chance to evaluate our kids,” he said. “The program is pretty solid. We will continue to stress the character traits that develop successful young men.”
Helping him stress those traits will be a supporting cast of assistant coaches that experienced the championship regime last year, and Whetstone believes they played a tremendous role in the team’s success.
Talent wise, they lose standouts in lineman James Amos and running back Ramon Hernandez, but they return a few starters as well as back ups who saw tremendous playing time last season due to the Cardinals dominating pretty much every game in 2017.
And the goal is simple, according to Whetstone.
“First and foremost, our main goal is for the kids to be successful in the classroom and win another championship,” he said. “Also, to create some lifetime memories while participating as a member of the football team coached by men who have a genuine love for the kids and the game of football that truly can assist in preparing them for life.”