FORT MILL, S.C. (WBTV) - When building a football program from scratch, there is a lot good and bad in the process. The coaching staff at Catawba Ridge is in the middle of that process right now.
First the good.
“There are some days where it has been like Christmas morning,” said Copperheads head coach Zac Lendyak. “We’re opening up boxes and just seeing what it is. We’re having fun with it.”
Drive up to Catawba Ridge High School in Fort Mill and the first thing that comes to mind is “WOW”. The facilities are top notch and the campus is beautiful. The football stadium known as The Pit is better than a lot of college stadiums in our area. That is a gift and a curse say coach Lendyak.
“It’s kind of put a target on our backs,” said coach. “A lot of schools will walk in here and say ‘man, they get to come to this everyday’. We honestly don’t deserve it. We haven’t done anything to earn this. We want to make Catawba Ridge proud with the effort that we are putting forth on this field.”
The building process for this team could be a rough one in year one. Catawba Ridge is a brand new school that will have no senior class in 2020. Of the players on this year’s squad, only 2 have ever played varsity football. There are only 15 juniors on this team so a lot of sophomores and freshmen will play a lot of minutes in year one and there in lies the silver lining for the Copperheads.
“Next year, we’ll be the only team in the state that has 22 starters back,” said Lendyak who is a head coach at the high school level for the first time himself. “We’re looking at it that way. We’re growing everyday. We’re spending time together. We’re learning what it takes to be team mates. So I think the sky is the limit and we’re excited about the way we’ve been moving up to this point.”
The Copperheads start their season August 23rd when they host the Carolina Bearcats. The big question most fans want to know is how many games will this team win in year one? Sure they want to win but the Copperheads coaching staff is keeping it real with their players with an eye toward the future.
“We’ll be the underdogs in every game that we play,” said coach. "Nobody is going to want to be the team that loses to a first year program. The thing we are focusing on is attitude and effort. If you can control your attitude and effort every single game, we are going to get better.