The Taylor Titans begin its 2019 season with a new head coach and a new outlook on the program.
Legendary Coach George Gilbert, who previously built Tri-Central High School from a winless football program to state champions in just five years, has been looking to see what he can do for Taylor’s current 21-man team.
“Right now we have 21 boys,” Gilbert said. “We will not have a junior varsity schedule. We’re the second-largest Class A school in the state, and we’re really struggling to get our student body involved in sports. So we have to find out how we can do that, and it’s a progression. We’re going to keep fighting a good fight, and hopefully we’ll keep kids healthy and keep being able to play. I think we have some talented boys. They just have to learn to play the game in our system.”
The Titans currently have six seniors, six juniors, four sophomores, and five freshmen on the team. Even though numbers are down, Gilbert was optimistic about the evenness among the different grade levels, giving the football program hope for the returning numbers for next season and in the future.
Since numbers over the summer were very low, Gilbert was unsure of who will fill the starting positions and do the job right. Sometimes it’s not always the best, most athletic kids, according to him, but the ones who will work hard and play with heart.
“It’s getting better, I still don’t know many of the kids because I only had three of them that actually worked with me during the summer, and I know those three kids pretty well,” Gilbert said. “But the other kids are learning. They’re learning what my expectations are, and it’s a slow process. I’m very demanding when it comes to on the field. We just don’t have any boys, and that’s very problematic.”
The most important game on the schedule will be game one against North White High School, Gilbert said. He believes the Titans have a chance to win and really compete and then build on that for the rest of the season.
“We’re giving our best to Taylor, and hopefully things will get better,” Gilbert said. “If I keep kids healthy, we might surprise some people.”
The Titans start the season with a scrimmage against the Oak Hill Golden Eagles at home Friday, Aug. 16, at 7 p.m.