Youth, injuries and a tough schedule proved to be a brutal combination with Cordova winning just two games, its lowest total since 2002.
As rough as last season was for coach Jimmy Gay, who returned to his alma mater in 2013, he sees improvement on the horizon as the Blue Devils make the jump to Class 4A this year.
“I think we are a lot further along than we were at this point last year. We had a good offseason. A lot of our ninth graders and young kids are stronger and have that extra year of maturity,” Gay said.
Cordova graduated just four players from last year’s squad that didn’t have many bounces go its way.
The Blue Devils were a few plays away from winning five games.
Vinemont edged Cordova 19-15 in Week 3, Winston County made up an 18-0 deficit in a 34-25 victory in Week 6 and Curry rallied from a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit for a 42-41 victory in the season finale.
“With as many underclassmen as we had, and the rash of injuries, I thought our kids showed a tremendous amount of toughness. We had three ACL (injuries) and a broken elbow. The kids never quit. They showed up every day. I think that will pay big dividends this year,” Gay said.
Cordova had 52 football players go through spring practice.
That’s considerably higher than the 30 that closed out the season with the team in 2013.
The Blue Devils traveled to Winfield for their spring jamboree game, finishing in a 19-19 tie with the Pirates.
“If we are measuring from last year, we are a lot better than we were. We’re nowhere close to where we need to be, but we are getting there,” Gay said. “We played a lot of young kids in the jamboree. We were trying to get a lot done in a short amount of time. We showed improvement. That’s all you can ask for.
“I’m ready to see what they can do with another year under their belt. They’ve worked hard in the weight room. I bet we are benching 40 to 50 more pounds this year as a team.”
Cordova will play in a seven-team region this year, giving the Blue Devils four non-region games: Dora, Good Hope, Oakman and Corner.
Dora and Oakman will travel to Cordova. The Blue Devils haven’t played Oakman in a regular-season game since 2005.
Cordova’s 4A, Region 5 opponents are: Hamilton, Haleyville, Fayette County, Curry, Carbon Hill and Danville.
Cordova has lost two assistant coaches from last year. Royce Young took over as head football coach at Escambia County. B.J. Baker also left to be part of Young’s staff.
Former Walker High School coach John Holladay helped out with the team during spring practice, but will not be with the team for the 2014 season.
David Norwood and Jared Porter return as assistants this season, and former Cordova High School star Tim Simon will join the staff.