Blitzing the Preseason: Central Linn Cobras

Central Linn is using two co-head coaches and aims for the playoffs ahead of the 2018 season.

Posted: Aug 17, 2018 11:13 AM
Updated: Sep 4, 2019 4:42 PM

Halsey, Ore. -- KEZI's 'Blitzing the Preseason' series presented by Bi-Mart continues up at Central Linn high school, where one in three boys in the school play football. Somethat that the Cobras two head coaches are very excited about.

"They come together most of the time and help bring different ideas and if something is going wrong on one side they both come together and fix it up and figure it out," explains Central Linn center Justin Malone.

After their head coach stepped down in 2017, Central Linn high school did something different. It named Mike Day and Mark Watt as co-head coaches.

"Mark brings a lot of knowledge of football and being a part of programs, large programs and I'm able to bring the experience of a head coach," says Day, who is also the head coach of other sports at Central Linn. "I've been here at Central Linn for about 20 years now."

But more different still is the Cobras leader: Their center, Justin Malone, who came ot the school as a freshman and only started playing football two years ago.

"Justin's our leader," co-head coach Mark Watt says. "On the field, off the field, everywhere we go he's our leader. And in that line he dictates what's gonna happen on each play."

But Malone himself doesn't think about it that way.

"The weird thing is I don't really see myself as a leader most of the team," explains the senior. "I just like to be better for the team whatever comes next is...that's what I do that's what I say."

In Days' eyes, it's a progression that started when Malone first came to Central Linn. 

"He moved here his freshman year and he was kinda shy and quiet," Day recalls. "He told us a story he used to get here and he would go take his lunch and he would go sit in the bathroom and eat by himself just because he was so shy he didn't know anybody. And we got him involved in sports, he came out and wrestled for me and we got him involved in that side. Then we got him involved in football and he just aboslutely loved it."

Which led to Malone becoming who he is ahead of this season.

"His voice has really started coming out these last two years and becoming a leader," continues Day. "He's kind of our workhorse that kids want to follow and be like. When he talks about going to the weight room kids are willing to follow him and go to the weight room. So I'm super excited for that kid. From a kid when he first got here three years ago eating lunch in the bathrooms by himself to a kid that's now talking in front of a camera representing an entire football team it means a lot and it shows his growth and where he's at."

With Malone and others like quarterback Anthony Anderson and backs Eli Ortiz, Caleb Day and Dustin Baze, goals are set high.

"We're really pushing for a winning season, we want to win at least five games," Watt says, describing the goal set. "I think we can win a lot more than that because of the way the team has come together. We've been to the playoffs the last six years because our strength of schedule. Last year we played every team that went to the playoffs is who we lost. We didn't lost to anyone that didn't make playoffs."

Behind that group, the Cobras are ready for what's coming on August 31st.

Blitzing the Preseason continues with Crescent Valley high school.

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