When "Ardmore No More" comes to Norris Field Friday to help Ada inaugurate the artificial turf, one coach will know the players better than perhaps anyone ever has — all 22 of them.
At the end of school, Cody Fagan simply moved up the turnpike from Ardmore to take over the linebackers for Ada head coach Matt Weber.
He worked with most of the Ardmore regulars as well as Ada’s.
“The toughest part will be knowing the kids on both sides of the ball, but it’s great to be in Ada because it has always felt like home. It should be a fun night,” Fagan said.
At Ada, he found a group of young but competitive candidates left behind by retired linebackers coach Joe Weber.
Fagan, who joins Wade Boyles and Brandon Christian on the varsity staff, was upbeat after looking over the troops in the Maroon/White intrasquad and Duncan scrimmages.
“As always, our linebackers will be a tough physical group that flies to the football,” Fagan said. “We only have a couple of seniors, Cason Teel and Will Speed, and a great group of talented sophomores and juniors.”
No. 10 Kobe Bellard and fellow junior Garrett Beam lead the pack with other candidates nipping at their heels — Bellard at left linebacker, Beam in the middle.
“Kobe has great size and athletic ability. His work ethic and natural abilities should lead to a very productive junior season,” Fagan said.
Fagan, who also coached in Texas for several years — a two-year stand from 2007 to 2009 at Midlothian and three years at Red Oak — will look to Beam’s experience.
“Garrett Beam is one of the few linebackers returning with playing experience from last year’s semifinal run. Garrett’s physical play and high motor will lead to a great junior campaign,” he said.
Another junior who caught Fagan’s eye was Quinton Gregory, who leads the pack at right backer.
“Quinton has shown a great deal of improvement throughout this spring, and his good size and quickness will help us become a great defense,” Fagan predicted.
As far as the one of two senior linebackers, Cason Teel, will be looked to for leadership.
“Cason’s hard work and great nose for the football will lead to an exciting senior season,” Fagan predicted. “Will is a very intelligent player, and his ability to understand the game will help him become an important part of our defense this year.
"Tristan Doffin missed spring with a shoulder injury, but has looked strong thus far in two-a-days and could be a big part of our defense,” Fagan said.
“Sophomore Kane Moore is a very good player and seems to find his way to the football every play. Shiloh Windsor has a great frame and lots of natural athletic ability,” Fagan added.
Others are Todd Penick, whose quickness and toughness were pointed out by Fagan. He also noted that junior Quaid Johnson loves contact.
Sophomores like Gunner Holder could see some action this year.
Fagan is a Texan who went to high school at First Baptist in Dallas, graduating in 2002.
He played his college ball at East Central University, receiving his bachelor's degree in 2006 and master's in 2008.
He will be a history instructor at Ada High.