CITRONELLE, Ala. (WKRG) — Next up on WKRG’s “33 Teams in 33 Days” spring special is the Citronelle Wildcats.

WKRG sports director Simone Eli and weekend sports anchor Gerhard Mathangani provide an inside look into the Wildcats, who are looking to get back in the postseason fold this season.

Citronelle went 1-7 in a tough Class 5A, Region 1. The Wildcats picked up a region win against LeFlore.

Head coach Jason Rowell is making a homecoming of sorts. The Citronelle native returns to his alma mater coaching at Luverne High School from 2020-22. Rowell tells WKRG returning is special.

“It just means more when you come home,” said Rowell. “I’ve coached a lot of good kids and a lot of great programs. Being at home where you bled, where you sweated at, where you cried your tears at, you know, this place just means more. These kids mean more to me and it’s just great to be home.”

Rowell says his players have responded well to the coaching change both on the field and in the weight room.

“It’s been great, the community has been great,” added Rowell. “There has been a lot of buy in. I’m proud of our kids and the hard work they have put in so far.”

Rowell says they are no where close to where they need to be, but they are headed in the right direction.

“From a physicality standpoint, I have seen some guys step up and really not be afraid to put their face in there and play tough-nosed football,” said Rowell.

2022 Record (notable wins, losses):

  • 1-9
  • 29-6 win vs. LeFlore

Key Players:

  • Justin Adams, QB
  • Bryce Keyser, OL
  • Zach Gaston, OL
  • Bruce Smith, OL
  • David Sullivan, LB
  • Austin Helveston, DL
  • Gabriel Till, DB

Adams returns for his senior season and will play behind a well-experienced, veteran offensive line. Keyser, Gaston and Smith all started last season. Sullivan, Helveston and Till also providing veteran leadership on the defensive side of the ball.

The players are really hungry to put in the work necessary for improvement.

“Our guys are locked in and we are just really improving on both sides of the ball,” said Till. “It’s just a mindset change. You see everybody else working harder in the weight room and on the field, more guys wanting to get reps, more guys that are hungry.”

Adams also says both sides of the ball are improving.

“Everybody is hungry and everybody wants the opportunity to get on the field,” said Adams. “Everybody gotta keep their head up high.”

Key Matchups:

  • @ Gulf Shores — September 1
  • @ Vigor — September 8
  • vs. Williamson — October 13

Link to full schedule.

Who’s next:

Friday will wrap up the “33 teams in 33 days” with a feature of the St. Luke’s Wildcats.

Full “33 teams in 33 days” schedule: