By Michael Kinney, Contributing Writer
The Mustang football team did something it has never done before. On Saturday they hosted their annual media/picture day two days before the season began. They normally wait until two weeks into the season.
To mark the occasion, coach Jeremy Dombeck had the Mustang Police Department canine unit come out and put on a demonstration for the players. It involved the dogs showing how they look for drugs, explosives and other duties they go through.
However, the one demo that grabbed the interest of the players and onlookers was when the officers released their canines and they attacked their fellow officers who were wrapped up in protective gear. They did it with such ferociousness and speed, the impact could be heard 50 yards away.
That is similar to the way Mustang linebacker Cooper Meadows likes to attack any player who happens to roam into his area of the field.
“He is a typical linebacker. Tough as nails,” MHS coach Jeremy Dombeck said of Meadows. “He is not built like your typical linebacker. He is not 220 pounds. He is an outstanding tackler, smart. He has played a lot of football for us. He is not a real vocal guy. He is just going to go in there and play football. Just a hardnosed kid. The type you want at linebacker.”
Meadows is the only returning linebacker for the Broncos this season.
“Having an experienced player in the middle of our defense when our whole defense is lacking in experience, it will help,” Dombeck said. “We expect big things out of him.”
Meadows expects big things out of himself and his team in his final year at MHS.
“I expect us to do pretty good,” Meadows said. “Make a good run into the playoffs, if not go try and win a championship.”
Because he is one of the few defensive starters back from last year, Meadows knows his duties will extend beyond the field. He has to set the tempo and attitude for the young defenders.
“I definitely want to become a better leader and really lead this defense,” Meadows said. “I have always looked at myself as a leader. I just feel like other people have looked up to me.”
According to his coaches, what makes Meadows such a solid leader is his competitiveness. Something he has honed in other areas as well.
“He is our returning leader in tackles. He has put on good weight,” Dombeck said. “He is first and foremost a competitor. He is an outstanding wrestler. Some of our better football players have been really good wrestlers. He is no exception to that.”
Meadows knows how important he and his defensive unit will be to the success of the Broncos this season. Despite the inexperience, a lot is riding on them.
But that seems to be fine for Meadows. He knows what his teammates are capable of doing.
“I think we really need to come together as a defense,” Meadows said. “Last year our defense was a pretty tight knit group. But this year we have a few guys that are coming in pretty young. And they just have to get with it and come together.”
Regardless of how the season ends, this will be the final times he suits up with his Mustang teammates on the football field.
“Honestly, it just feels like yesterday I was a freshman,” Meadows said. “It’s just kind of mind blowing It’s like I am ready, but I am not ready. I’m ready for it to start, but I am not ready for it to end.”