MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Next up on WKRG’s “33 Teams in 33 Days” spring special is the Mobile Christian Leopards.

WKRG sports director Simone Eli and weekend sports anchor Gerhard Mathangani provide an inside look into the Leopards, who are looking to build off last season’s deep playoff run.

Mobile Christian went 6-1 in Class 3A, Region 1 on the field. The Leopards were forced to forfeit their first four wins due to an ineligible player, but still finished as the four-seed in the region to earn a spot in the AHSAA playoffs. Mobile Christian beat Houston Academy, Trinity and Pike County before falling to St. James in the semifinals.

Head coach Ronnie Cottrell enters his eighth season at the helm with a 60-29 overall record and seven straight playoff appearances. He tells WKRG this team could be the best he has had.

Eight starters on defense return. That group allowed just 14 points per game last year.

“We retained a lot of the talent, a lot of the stars of the defense,” said Cottrell. “We really feel like that’s going to be the difference in our team. I have always felt that if you have a good defensive team, you have a chance. This will be the best defense we put on a field since I have been here.”

Cottrell said Mobile Christian is a really “special” place.

“When the game is on the line, our guys have traditionally showed up to play and this group of guys has really proven themselves on the field and I can’t wait to see what they do,” said Cottrell.

2022 Record (notable wins, losses):

  • 6-8 (with 6 forfeits)
  • 34-14 win vs. Cottage Hill Christian
  • 27-8 win vs. Pike County (playoff quarterfinal)

Key players:

  • Sterling Dixon, DL/OLB
  • Kentonio Kelly, LB
  • Camden Lawson, DB
  • Bo Cagle, OL

Dixon, a 2024 Alabama football commit, was the Class 3A lineman of the year. He racked up 182 tackles with 18 sacks and 20 tackles-for-loss. Kelly, a rising junior, helped anchor the Leopards defense with 123 total tackles and two interceptions. Lawson, a rising senior, had 74 total tackles with four tackles-for-loss and three interceptions. Cagle, an All-State offensive lineman, did not allow a sack all season.

“Practice has been great,” said Dixon. “The guys have been coming out and giving it their all. We just can’t ask for nothing more.”

Dixon says the team has been reviewing film from last season so they do not make the same mistakes.

“We know what we did wrong last year, so this year we’re looking to go a little bit further with it,” added Dixon.

Lawson says it feels good to be back and they’re working to get better during the spring.

“I’m just trying to work on becoming a better leader, you know, just lead the team and just bring that energy every practice,” added Lawson.

Dixon said the team is “definitely hungry” and expects nothing less than a state championship.

Key Matchups:

  • vs. Athens Academy (GA) — August 25
  • vs. Excel (region) — September 15
  • @ Orange Beach (non-region) — September 29

Link to full schedule.

Who’s next:

Tuesday will feature the Theodore Bobcats. 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: