The Logan County Cougar football program ended its season with a record of 10-4. The team’s spectacular performance earned the school’s first-ever trip to the state semi-finals pairing them with Boyle County, the defending state champions. Although the team fell short of the win needed to send them to the end, they did something more spectacular locally by climbing over a barrier finally reaching the other side to success.
“This season was one I will always remember,” said head coach Todd Alder. “In 39 years of football here at Logan County, we finally got over the hump and not only played/hosted a regional championship but won it as well. This team was so fun to coach. The most disciplined, unselfish, hardworking, and dedicated team I have had the privilege of coaching. I was concerned at the start of the season just because of how young and inexperienced this group was. I knew we had some talented guys but experience and age plays a big part in making plays on Friday nights. They proved me wrong week in and week out. Yes, we had some “youth” mistakes but the way they played the game allowed them to learn on the fly and they continued to improve each and every game.”
Adler says the team had all kinds of players step up and fill big roles for the Cougars this year. Losing 14 seniors from the 2020 team left a lot of starting positions that were big question marks. Adler filled those spots with mostly freshman and sophomores. The coach added you somewhat expect mistakes and miscues but it proved that is not always the case.
“We had freshmen step up like Brady Hinton, Junvontre Dillard, and Hunter Holloway. These kids had moments where you didn’t know they were freshmen with the plays they made on the field. The sophomores that stepped up and played big roles for us were Harper Butler, Jack Delaney, Eli Hawkins, Davin Yates, and Kiege Shoemake. Most of these guys started for us all season long and had the stats to go along with it. We also had juniors and of course of Seniors stepped up big for us. The seniors ultimately laid the groundwork for the rest of the team,” said Adler. “Our motto this year was WE over ME and these guys took that to heart. They put the team first and worked hard every single day. With the seniors buying into that and leading the way the rest of the team had no choice but to follow along.”
Adler said this season’s climb had a lot to do with the staff of the program being some of the best-assembled in a long time.
“We had some new guys that we added to our staff and they hit the ground running,” said Adler. “They really built relationships with the players and that is the most important part of coaching in our program. We add the new coaches in with the guys that have been here for the past few years. It was the perfect storm. We pushed each other to be better coaches and also pushed the players to become not only better football players, but better young men. Each and every week, I thought we assembled good game plans and all coaches did their part in getting that plan across to the players.”
And you cannot undercut the school support received this year said the coach.
“We had great crowds at every single game. The student section was always packed and they were very loud. Administrators and teachers were also very big supporters of this team. Our parents were great. They were always there if we needed anything. They made sure they were at the games, got their kids to practices, and helped with whatever else was needed. I feel like this is just the beginning of what our program can be. When you have good players, good coaches, school support, and parent/community support, the sky’s the limit for a program.”
This season is coach Adler’s sixth. He, along with many players and assisting staff, has built back a program one step at a time.
“This season is a reflection of all the hard work and dedication these players have put in. The guys before this team helped lay the groundwork of competing and winning. This team just took it to another level. We’ve had good teams in the past but never could get over that hump. This group this year found a way to do that. Now the expectations of our program have changed. We know what it’s like to make it to the final four. Now we know what we need to do,” said Adler.
What’s next for the program?
“I honestly think this is just the beginning of our program. It’s the first time in 39 years we’ve put together five straight winning seasons. They got a taste of playing in the final four and got to hold up three trophies while doing so. We have 19 out of 22 starters returning next season so all of them and the other players on the team know what we need to do to be able to get back to that point and beyond,” Adler said. “We have a great middle school and junior pro feeder program that we have yet to rip our full rewards from yet. We created a junior pro league a few years back and the first team that played in that league will be going into the 7th grade next year. So with that being said with all this in place, I believe it’s just the beginning for this program as a whole. We should be a program that can compete at a high-level year in and year out.”
Adler graduated from Logan County High School in 2004. He says he’s been here ever since and doesn’t plan on going anywhere else. He took this job to build a successful football program, but more importantly to make a difference in his community.
“Sports has its own ways of teaching lessons about life,” said Adler. “I love this game and love helping our youth learn about the peaks and valleys of life. I feel like God has led me to where I am today. So if I can make a difference in just one or two kids’ lives, I feel like that’s what I was called to. I love this community, school, and this game. I put a lot of time into it just like every other coach does, but doing it for your own community is just different.”
Adler is married to Dedra Adler, who is the Lady Cougar Basketball coach. They have three children, Brea Croslin, who is playing softball at Murray State University; Brenley Adler, 12, who plays middle school softball and basketball, and Brett Adler, 9, who plays jr. pro basketball and football.