2015-07-28 / Front Page

Tony Meyer Named Head Football Coach At Cloverdale High School

by Michael Stanley
Staff Writer


New Cloverdale High School head football coach Tony Meyer talks to his players about their performance during practice Monday morning. (Staff Photo) New Cloverdale High School head football coach Tony Meyer talks to his players about their performance during practice Monday morning. (Staff Photo) Tony Meyer knows his work is cut out for him in his first season at the helm at Cloverdale High School, but the Greencastle native’s past experience as a coach is likely to serve him well.

If Meyer can make it through the team’s controlled scrimmage at Linton Stockton on Friday, August 14 without injuring his starting quarterback, and win more than one game, he and the Clovers will already be significantly improved from the 2014-2015 campaign.

The Clovers finished 1-9 overall and 0-4 in West Central Conference play under the guidance of second-year head coach Jarrod Duff a season ago. Now one of Duff’s CHS baseball assistants will see what he can do with a young, but athletic group of student-athletes.

While Meyer and his team have plenty of practices ahead of them before their first regular season game at South Putnam on Friday, August 21, he already has a handle on most of his starters.

“We’ll more than likely start with a freshman quarterback, a sophomore tailback, two freshmen and two sophomore wide receivers,” Meyer explained. “We’re young, that’s just the way it is. If you’re building a program, that’s not all bad. They might take their lumps this year, but next year they’ll come right back and know exactly what we’re doing. Then by their junior year and senior year, you’ve built something up.”

Freshman quarterback Parker Watts is likely to start at quarterback, and Jake Wilkes at center. Starting running back duties will be given to incoming sophomore Tyce Jackson. Jackson gained 199 yards on 59 carries for an average of 3.4 yards per carry and 19.9 yards per game and two touchdowns as a freshman. He caught two passes for a combined 12 yards.

The team’s top receiving corps will include incoming sophomore Haiden Davis, who caught one pass for seven yards as a freshman receiver. Davis also played free safety a season ago, recording 37 tackles, including 14 solo. Also lining up on the outside will be sophomore Nick Winders and Tyler Kaeff.

“Probably the biggest challenge for us isn’t necessarily athletic ability, it’s more belief. A lot of the kids and even the parents at a recent parent meeting kept saying, ‘Everybody thinks we’re terrible.’ Well, guess what, everyone doesn’t think you’re terrible, you think you’re terrible,” Meyer noted. “My job is to get the kids to believe in themselves a little bit more... actually, a lot more. We have ability, I know there are a couple of upperclassmen who will play on the line, but the majority of our starters will be freshmen and sophomores. That’s not a bad thing, if you see them. Our problem is going to be depth and I think that’s a common theme. But I’ll take my first teamers at every position, I have no problem with that.”

Meyer competed in baseball and two years of football during his playing days at Greencastle High School and went on to play both sports at Wabash College. His first coaching experiences in both football and baseball was at Hanover College.

He served as an assistant baseball coach last year for the Clovers and also coached a USA Junior Pan-Am team, assisted his father Ed Meyer as a baseball coach at nearby DePauw University in Greencastle and served as an interim head coach one season.

“My brother (Mike) is actually Greencastle’s head (football) coach and my father coached football and baseball at DePauw for 37 years,” Meyer said. “I got back into coaching this past year with Cloverdale’s baseball program and that was a positive experience. They approached me about this position and I talked to (athletic director) James (Wade) and (principal) Sony (Stultz) and said I had no problem with it.”

Meyer said in order for Cloverdale to establish a football program to be proud of, the high school, middle school, and youth league teams must all work hand in hand.

“We (high school team) have to be on the same page as the middle school, they need to mirror us exactly, which we are rectifying that as we speak,” he said. “Fortunately the Cloverdale Youth Football League is introducing me to some of their coaches, who may be used at the middle school. Maybe now we can get the high school, middle school, and youth teams all using the same terminology, running similar offenses, similar defenses and getting a similar belief going. I think if we can accomplish that in a short period of time, you’ll see our numbers go up.”

Numbers are also a big issue, with Meyer looking at Greencastle’s more than 50 players, 50 or more players at South Putnam, and the same at North Putnam.

“If we can get those kind of numbers on a regular basis, now you’re talking about the potential to have a program,” he noted. “Right now, I think we’re at 33 or 34 (players) on a good day. That doesn’t really even allow us to have a junior varsity team and unless our numbers go over 42, we won’t have a JV team this year and that hurts because some of the young kids won’t get as many reps as they could.”

Despite the limited numbers, Meyer has been pleased with the efforts of his team in just the past two weeks.

“They’ve shown up for workouts and we’re trying to get in shape,” he said. “We’ve installed a brand new offense, a brand new defense, and the kids are getting very used to the terminology. As a matter of fact, yesterday we ran two offenses at the same time and the kids were blasting right through it.”

The Clovers will also enter the newly expanded Western Indiana Conference (WIC) in 2015, adding the likes of Edgwood and South Vermillion to the team’s regular season schedule. A WIC play-off will take place in the final week of the season on Friday, October 16.

Cloverdale will join Owen Valley, Edgewood, Brown County, Cascade and North Putnam in the WIC East Division. Familiar foes Greencastle and South Putnam will join Northview, South Vermillion, Sullivan and West Vigo in the WIC West Division.

“I would love to tell you I’m super worried, but if you look at our schedule, it’s not too dissimilar from what we had last year,” Meyer said. “I wish we had Turkey Run back, but if we do anything offensively, we can be in the games.”

Myers hopes 2015 is just the beginning of a new era of Cloverdale football.

“We’re going to be more ball control than anything else. I want to control the clock,” Meyer added. “The whole three yards and a cloud of dust... I’m good with that. If we can do four yards, I’ll be thrilled. With young kids, it’s going to take baby steps. I’ve got a great coaching staff and we’ll have the middle school coaching spots filled in the next seven days. People are willing to help and one thing I’m good at is asking for help. I’m not your typical football coach, I’m more laid back. I think if I’m laid back, the kids will stay relaxed. I’m not your rah-rah coach, I’ll talk to them. I want them to treat the team like a job because they have an obligation and have to take ownership in the team. If they fail to take ownership in the team, we’ll either be 1-fer or 0-fer this year.”

Cloverdale’s annual Green and White scrimmage will get underway at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 8 at the high school football field.

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