BY AFTON HICKS
Football is a sport synonymous with American culture. From the first collegiate game of 1869, Rutgers V. Princeton, to the glittering commercials of the modern day Super Bowl, football has grown along side generations. For Cooper City High school, the sport has always been a tad bittersweet. However, the fans have never faltered. Every game students, parents, and friends pile into the bleachers to watch the Cowboys leave their hearts on the field under the bright glare of the stadium lights. This is spirit that inspires Art Taylor, CCHS’s new football coach, as he takes on a new era in Cowboy football.
“I don’t really know what it was like before,” Taylor said. “But, I’ve been to a few (games) and I noticed the spirit that the school has. That kind of support means something.”
Originally a graduate from Pace High School in Miami Gardens, FL, Taylor attended Upper Iowa University to play college football and since then has looked to coach high schools back around where he lived as a kid. He got a job coaching at Deerfield Beach High School, and his success as a coach has been phenomenal. While at Deerfield Beach, Taylor coached them to a district title, a national ranking, and an award for sportsmanship
“Three years ago at Deerfield, I was the coach of the year in the state and runner up the following year” Coach Taylor said. “And hopefully we’re able to create the same success here at CCHS.”
Since taking over the team, Taylor has made the team do a complete 180. He places a lot of focus on getting the guys prepared for games and the mental pressure that comes along with them. Between the new 6am morning practices to spending every afternoon in the weight room, he expects to see a big difference in the players by next season.
“I think you can expect to see a lot of changes in these guys by next year,” Taylor said. “I’m expecting a lot of progress.”
The new work ethic isn’t the only thing Taylor has changed. He brings a sort of intensity to the table that has inspired his players. They have a whole new outlook on the game of football. Boys that once lacked the work ethic, determination, and motivation to put forward what was needed to bring home the wins are now stoked to get back into the game and see what CCHS football is made of. With the coaching experience and attitude to pull the CCHS football program back up to a position of pride, Taylor’s players are excited to see just how much progress they are going to make both individually and together out on the field.
“Hopefully we’ll win districts,” Junior Steven Day said. “Change the team a lot. Score a lot more points; win a lot more games. He’s had a lot more experience, defiantly a lot more experience winning and he knows what it takes to get us further.”
This new Cowboy attitude hasn’t just been noticed by the returning players but by students all over the school. Over sixty guys have come out to the pre-season workouts, many who have never played football for CCHS before.
“The team wasn’t good,” Junior Timothy Cave said. “But, we have a new coach this year. He’s strict and he’s actually had experienced winning.”
The pressure of taking over a new team can be difficult. For some coaches, getting caught up in tradition can be too much to handle. However, Taylor hasn’t let it get to him. He’s not worried about how Cowboy football used to be run, but what he can do to make them the best that they can be. Being a Cooper City local, winning means more then just a plaque or a trophy for Taylor, this is a team that hit’s close to home.
“I live in the area,” Taylor said. “So, Cooper City has been a school I’ve wanted to coach for, (for) a long time.
Taylor is not worried about any previous records, or past seasons. He has a coaching ethic that’s all its own and he’s ready to prove that hiring him as the new coach was the best decision CCHS could make. With new energy, new attitudes, and raised spirits, the Cowboy family is excited to show that they truly do bleed red, black and white.