MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - There's a new sheriff in town - or rather a new head of the flock - over at Park Crossing High School in 2018. He's not really new though as he was the defensive coordinator in all four of the Thunderbirds' previous seasons under former head coach Smitty Grider.
Angleo Wheeler is now the head football coach of Park Crossing and he's already keyed in on their week one match-up.
"We're pretty excited this year. New start, new beginning. Just trying to focus on the first game against Lee High School and just trying to work on fundamentals, and technique, and execution," Wheeler said.
Wheeler isn't the only "new" face of the program. He's now having to replace players like former star quarterback Cam Taylor and offensive lineman Tank Jenkins, both of whom moved on to the next level. But Wheeler isn't so much concerned with replacing those guys as much as he is grooming the next stars of Park Crossing football.
"You never can replace athletes like that. All you can do is try to get the next generation, the next group up - try to coach them up on fundamentals and techniques," said Wheeler. "It's all about a system. The system we implemented here at Park Crossing is a good system, so we get the next group, coach them up and teach them just like we taught the first group. So we're just going to stay consistent and do the things that we've been doing here at Park Crossing to be successful."
Success is difficult to maintain for one season, but a program as young as Park Crossing has managed to maintain success through its first four seasons. The Thunderbirds have won at least seven games every year; 7 in 2014, 8 in 2015, 13 in 2016, 10 in 2017. But what's the key to maintaining that success through Wheeler's first season?
"We've put in a good program here at Park Crossing. We work hard, we do things the right way. Main thing right now for us is to just stay consistent, keep doing the things that we're doing each year we've been growing," said Wheeler. "So we just want to stay focused and stay consistent with what we've been doing year to year. Each year we bring progress so hopefully this year we can continue to make progress."
Coach Wheeler said he's excited to be back on the field coaching his team. He said coaching puts him in his comfort zone.
The Thunderbirds will square off in Wheeler's first game as head coach Aug. 24 at home against the Lee Generals. That game will kick at 7 p.m.