1.First congrats on getting the all-star game going. How much work went into that and who are some of the others that helped get this done?
Thank you for that! The Inaugural Crown Classic All-American Game was so much fun and exciting. Hours upon hours went into it but my partner in the game, who happens to be my DC, Sam Britton, absolutely killed it. We just work so well together and so that ensured that our game went on without any major issues. Parents were extremely pleased, the staff at Rocky Top Sports World was so helpful and we are excited about year 2 for this game. We have decided to expand and are going to add a Rising Sophomore/Junior Game for this year as well to continue providing more looks for all these young men. I will say that the best part has been watching these young men that played in the Crown Classic continue to follow each other on Twitter and give one another shout-outs as they commit to colleges. It’s become a brotherhood which is exciting to see.
- You are doing things at Cincinnati College Prep Academy that had never been done so at the school. How satisfying is it to get the results you have had with those young men?
I believe that this is just the beginning of where we can go as a football program. Our young men are just starting to see how talented and gifted they truly are. The weight room buy-in is staggering and I’m so proud of how far we have come in such little time. The best is definitely yet to come for us at CCPA.
3-I briefly spoke with Mark Smith after the Bernard-Elmwood Place game and interviewed him this year, The young man was very modest and spoke highly of the coaching staff and the way you all have taught them so much on and off the field. How satisfying is it to hear such good things from any player especially one as good as he is?
You don’t get to coach many young men like Mark Smith. He’s the entire package both off and on the field. Fierce competitor, leader, smart, humble… he’s a kid that I want my own children to look up to and want to be like. The best part is he’s like one of the family. Mark and I Facetime regularly and most of the time, it has nothing to do with football. Just life stuff. It’s a great feeling to have a bond with one of your kids like that and I am grateful for the opportunity to coach him.
4-Moving to the CMAC next season will be a new challenge for you guys. What are you looking most forward to with the move and what do you think will be the biggest challenge?
I am looking forward to more “local rivalries” and playing student-athletes that our kids hang out within the neighborhood. Sparks their interest a little more when we get to play downtown on Friday nights and the entire community comes out to see our team perform. I believe the biggest challenge will be the speed that is within the CMAC. It’s going to be different for us to compete against teams that are built a lot more like us.
5-As you guys are getting better and better do you think you guys will schedule tougher non-league games?
I believe we did that this season actually. We start the season with Bethel-Tate (Division 3) and a program that continues to grow and progress under Coach Essig. They make the playoffs it seems like every year and their pace of play under his “Tate Tempo” is fun and hopefully, we will put on a show for everyone in Cincinnati Week 1. We also scheduled Purcell Marian, who won 2 playoff games last season. Woodward HS, which is another Division 3 school, and then St. Bernard and Newport (KY). We want our kids competing against bigger and faster so as we dive into our playoff runs, we are more prepared. The Division 7 State Champion has come out of our region nearly every year for the past decade.
6-You guys tailed off somewhat last season but still posted the first playoff win in school history. How big was that as far as building for the future at CCPA?
We installed a new offense which caused some issues at the beginning of the year. With COVID and all the issues that have gone along with that, I probably should’ve stayed with the same offense from the year before and pushed forward. I take the blame for that completely. We ended up switching back at the end of the year and it showed as our PTS/Game went from 24 per game to over 30.
The first playoff win was HUGE for our program. Going from zero winning seasons to back-to-back winning seasons, 2 playoff berths – which was a first for a charter school in OHSAA history and then winning a playoff game on top of that – another first for a charter school… I believe we have set the bar high for ourselves. Our kids want to compete and do things that people never thought CCPA could do.
7-You have taken part in this all three years now and I want to thank you for that. I know from one of the past interviews you do like playing out-of-state teams. That brings me to my next question. Will you guys have any out-of-state opponents on the 2021 schedule? Two schools I would very much enjoy covering is C.C.P.A vs Richmond, Ind and/or Dayon, Ky.
Yes, sir – we will be playing Newport (KY) on Thursday Night at their place for Week #5. We are excited to cross the river and be one of the only games in the city.
8-How hard was the covid season on you and your staff?
COVID has been very difficult but we are making due. Zoom meetings with the kids, rotating weight room times, smaller pods for practice… it’s been a challenge but one that I’m thankful to have the men beside me that I do cause they have helped meet the challenge head-on.
9- Do you think an Ohio/vs Kentucky or Indiana all-star game could ever work? Sort of like the Big-33 game, where Ohio played Pa.
I think that it would be very exciting for a game like that to be played. I like the North/South game that we have in Ohio right now… and our own SWOFCA East/West Game is huge for our town. I believe that any additional opportunities for these young men to play the game and be seen are huge. You never know what could happen during the game that could change someone with zero offers to getting an opportunity to further their education and football career.
10-Are you closer to getting that game with Walnut Hills?
Haha!!! I’m not sure about that one. I hope Coach Crook does well over at my Alma Mater. He’s a guy I’ve known for quite some time and I think he will do a great job over there.