In 2012, the Blue Devils didn’t win enough.
Now Cordova is searching for its next head football coach.
Woody Smothers stepped down from his post on Tuesday after two years at the school.
“I’m disappointed,” said Smothers, who finished with a 9-13 record in his short stint as coach. “Things could have gone better, but you are going to have growing pains when you are starting a program. People may not want to hear this, but that’s what we were doing down there. We were basically starting from scratch after we lost a big group of seniors. A lot of these kids had never played before.”
Cordova opened the 2012 season 0-6. From there, the team improved, winning three of its last four games, including a 42-28 victory over Class 5A Curry in the season finale.
The Blue Devils’ season opened with plenty of question marks following a large graduating class in 2011 as well as plenty of inexperience across the field — there were 17 underclassmen on the roster. By the time the hard work started paying off on the field, Cordova was already out of the playoff hunt.
“A lot of the teams we played had down years and we still couldn’t beat those teams,” Smothers said. “That was frustrating for me. Cordova is used to winning games like that and we didn’t win them.”
The 2012 campaign was a tale of two seasons for the Blue Devils. In the first six games, Cordova was outscored 179-57, while losing to county rivals Dora (45-6) and Parrish (6-0 in overtime). The Blue Devils lost to the Tornadoes for the first time since 2004.
Over their last four games, the Blue Devils outscored their opponents 120-81.
Cordova got its first win in Week 7, beating Danville 26-14 on the road. The Devils followed with a 30-0 win over Good Hope and a 39-22 road loss to Hanceville before closing the year with the Curry win.
“I thought we definitely turned a corner. We started playing as a cohesive unit. This group never quit. They stayed loyal to the coaches. We got better as the season went along. What happened is that the kids believed what we said. They realized that if we do this, this and this, we can win. They started doing those things,” Smothers said. “It was very satisfying to watch them turn it around.”
Smothers was hired as Cordova’s head coach in Feb. 2011 for his first head coaching job. His first stint at the school came as the offensive coordinator under head coach Scott Basden from 2004-2007. In his final season as coordinator, the Blue Devils won their third state championship, finishing 15-0 while averaging 44.3 points per game behind offensive stars Tim Simon, Ryan Smith and Jake Howton.
He said brighter days are ahead for the Blue Devils.
“There were a lot of kids in the ninth and 10th grades this year. They are going to be sophomores and juniors next year. They are going to get bigger, stronger and faster. The middle school program is pretty strong too. This is a good future there at Cordova,” Smothers said. “They are going to start giving beatings instead of taking them.”
Cordova loses eight seniors off this year’s team: Jamaal Cooper, Bradley Cordell, Zac Guerra, Kendall Johnson, Stephen Kilpatrick, Andrew Minor, Klint Rowe, Dustin Sanders and Zack Smith,
“Cordova is a special place. I have a lot of good memories there. I hope I made some of these boys better young men,” Smothers said. “I love these kids like they are my own. The good Lord put me here for a reason. I hope I left a positive footprint for these kids here because they left one on me.”