After the Collierville High School football team defeated White Station 37-6 last Friday (Sept. 2), head coach Joe Rocconi realized, while his team constructed a dominant effort in the victory, they were nowhere close to perfect.
“We made a lot of mistakes that must be corrected on film, and while I am happy to have gotten off to a strong start of the season, it’s about how the final result looks that matters,” Rocconi said.
With dual-threat quarterback Aiden Glover and dynamic wide receiver Joakim Dodson leading the offensive unit, Collierville set the tone by driving down the field at will.
A young White Station defense lacked the prowess and talent to keep up with Collierville, as Glover and Dodson connected on several touchdown passes to put the Dragons ahead for good.
Rocconi’s praise of Glover extended to his abilities as a passer and, though the senior quarterback knows how to make things happen when the play breaks down, his presence in the pocket and precision as a passer present a tough task for opposing defenses.
“Many people do’’t always give Aiden the credit he deserves as a passer, and I think that element is what gives our offense an advantage at times,” Rocconi said.
“I think that element of his game isn’t always discussed, but we are very confident in his talents.”
Another key reason for the success of Collierville has been its defense.
Having yielded a combined six points through their first three games, opponents have not been able to consistently move the football against them.
Rocconi knows the caliber of opponents will improve for his team as the season progresses, but he cannot deny the impressive performances so far.
“A lot of credit on the defensive end, and in all areas, goes to the coaching staff and players, as they are the ones implementing and accomplishing the game plan,” he said.
With White Station finding the end zone in the second quarter as the only score against Collierville the entire season, Spartans quarterback coach Dewayne Betts marveled at the pass rush of Collierville while also highlighting the inexperience of his own quarterback, Lonnie Simpson Jr.
“Collierville had a solid game plan for us defensively and, while our quarterback has the talent, he’s largely inexperienced, and they did a solid job of getting after us and making him uncomfortable,” he said.
Home field has played a large part in the success of Collierville, but they will be traveling Friday night (Sept. 9) to Center Hill High School as their first game away from Dragon Stadium.
Rocconi was sure to remind his players that while games against fellow 6A Region 8 heavyweights Whitehaven, Germantown, and Houston loom, the focus is on one contest at a time.
“We know what’s ahead, in terms of playing in one of the toughest regions in the state,” Rocconi said. “However, our focus lies on going to Center Hill Friday night and emerging victorious. Nothing else matters.”