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As a new high school football season peaks on the horizon, a new driver takes over the keys of the high-scoring offensive attack at Nelson County.
The Cardinals averaged more than 40 points per game last year, and was guided by the diverse skills of the record-setting Jonathan Breeding at quarterback. Breeding followed another record-setter, Dylan Beasley.
A new era begins this season, and junior Cameron Cornish takes his turn at the helm of coach Jamie Egli’s offense.
“I have high expectations this season,” said Cornish, who tossed five touchdown passes in a scrimmage win Friday over North Bullitt. “If we can stay healthy and stay focused, we should have a good year. I feel I have a strong arm, and I just want to play and be myself and have fun.”
The head coach echoes those sentiments as well and feels Cameron will get the job done.
“We want Cameron to be Cameron and he has the ability to be the best QB we ever had,” Egli said. “We are building our offense around him and his demeanor on the field. He is a hard worker and already knows our system, so he will be ready to play. We will be young and have only six seniors, but we would love to play for a state championship.”
Senior center Jacob Monroe is expected to handle the snaps, and has been doing a tremendous job in practice, along with defensive linebacker Michael Pesina. Running back and defensive specialist Charlie Berry is expected to have a strong year and should be one of the vocal leaders on the field.
The Cards will have a young receiving unit, but junior William Moore — the team’s leader in interceptions last year — is expected to step up and help lead his squad from one of the wideout positions, joining twin brother Jay.
With so many different aspects of football, besides their offense, Egli feels his defense will be a lot stronger than in the past.
“We have brought Crad Jaggers on board to coach our defense,” he said. “He has a great football sense and brings plenty of experience to the table.”
Jaggers, who is the former head coach at North Hardin, is expected to have the Cardinals’ defense in shape and with a lot of multiple schemes. In Friday’s scrimmage, the Nelson defense scored three touchdowns.
The Cardinals’ line will once again play a key role in managing the game’s tempo, as senior Tyler Marchese will help anchor the right guard spot.
“I would like to see us excel even more this year,” Marchese said. “We are going to be young at some spots, but we are coming together.”
Blake Crepps will also be a key piece to the Cards gridiron puzzle from his left tackle position and is expected to show a lot of senior leadership.
“I have an important role, I must protect our QB and give him time to set the tone on the play we run,” he said. “And as for defense, I must fill the gaps and contain the lanes. I feel we have a good squad and I’m looking forward to a great season.”
Nelson County is looking to feature a solid special teams this season, including Bullitt East transfer Zach Hopper.
“We have really been focusing on our kickoff coverage,” Egli said. “We need to improve on that, and I think we have.”
Nelson County went 8-4 overall, and defeated Spencer County in the first round of the playoffs, before falling the following week to eventual 4A state champion Collins. It marked the Cardinals’ best season since the 1998 squad went to the 4A state semifinals during a 13-1 campaign.
“If I had to title our season right now, I would say we have reloaded,” Egli said. “I don’t really like the phrase ‘rebuilding,’ but we have certainly reloaded.”