MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Next up on WKRG’s “33 Teams in 33 Days” spring special is the Cottage Hill Warriors.

WKRG sports director Simone Eli and weekend sports anchor Gerhard Mathangani provide an inside look into the Warriors, who are looking to build off the momentum from last year after winning the final three games of the regular season.

Cottage Hill went 3-4 in Class 3A, Region 1. The Warriors picked up wins against Monroe County, Hillcrest Evergreen and St. Luke’s to end the year.

Head coach Carvel Jones enters his first year at the helm after taking over in April. Jones served as the defensive coordinator in 2022. He is no stranger to the Gulf Coast having graduated from St. Paul’s in 2005 finishing his high school career with 430 tackles and 15 sacks under Coach Eddie Guth.

The Warriors return six starters on the offense and seven on the defense. Jones tells WKRG the installation of new schemes has been productive and the team is ready for a big year.

“They’ve really bought in to the to the new staff that’s coming in and this young group we have really been pushing and playing hard for this senior group,” added Jones. “We have a good senior group, so the kids have been buying in.”

Like several other classes along the Gulf Coast, Class 3A is very tough. Jones knows this and has been stressing toughness to his team.

“We talk about winning a week,” said Jones. “There are three ways to win the week and that’s in the classroom, in the weight room and at practice. That makes Friday’s a lot easier for us.”

2022 Record (notable wins, losses):

  • 5-5
  • 45-14 win vs. Monroe County
  • 36-15 win vs. St. Luke’s

Key players:

  • Shadarius Toodle, LB
  • Ben Conken, LB
  • Kaden Washam, WR

Toodle, a rising sophomore, posted a great year with 120 tackles, five sacks and an interception. Conken, who plays alongside Toodle, registered 100 tackles with six sacks and two interceptions.

Toodle told WKRG Jones has been great for the team.

“He’s like changed the whole program,” added Toodle. “You got the middle schoolers working. We are all together, we are all having fun, energetic, loud, playing fast and physical. That’s what he’s got us playing, so I like it.”

Conken echoed Toodle’s message.

“We all love him,” added Conken. “He pushes us on and off the field. He makes sure that we are getting it right in the classroom and on the field too. We were all really happy when he got the job.”

Toodle says the team needs to be “mentally tough” and “gut it out” since several players will be playing both ways.

“We got a lot of young guys and we’ve got to teach them how we do things and how Coach Jones wants us to do things,” said Conken. “Play fast and if you make a mistake, make it a hundred percent.”

Washam returns for the Warriors after posting a team high 600 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.

Key Matchups:

  • @ Satsuma — September 1
  • vs. Mobile Christian — October 13
  • @ Hillcrest-Evergreen — October 27

Link to full schedule.

Who’s next:

Tuesday will feature the Vigor Wolves. Follow along WKRG’s “33 teams in 33 days” throughout the next five weeks. Each team will be featured during the 6:30 p.m. newscast on the weekdays and during the 10 p.m. newscast on the weekend.

Full “33 teams in 33 days” schedule: