Denton named new Cornersville football coach
After longtime coach Ray Stocstill recently stepped down, Cornersville High School quickly found a new man to lead their football program when they promoted offensive line coach John Denton to their head coaching position.
"I'm really excited. It's been a lifelong goal and dream of mine to be a head coach," said Denton. "I've learned under a lot of great coaches growing up and they've given me some guidance so it's something I've always wanted to do."
Having taught at Cornersville the last six years, Denton coached the offensive line for CHS during the 2007 and 2008 campaigns before becoming an assistant coach on the middle school team the next two seasons. He then rejoined the high school staff in 2011 and resumed his duties as offensive line coach.
A 2001 graduate of Muscle Shoals High School in Alabama, Denton was a three-year starter there and helped lead the Trojans to two appearances in the Class 5A playoffs while playing linebacker, defensive end, and defensive tackle.
Denton then received a football scholarship to Bethel University and started at nose guard and linebacker for the Wildcats as a freshman, but was forced to give up the game at the end of the 2001 season due to a back injury.
Although he was unable to contribute on the field, Denton continued to help Bethel's football program by working as a student recruiter in the athletic department the next three years.
'A lot of energy'
"John has got a good background in football. He played at a good program in high school and played college football. He's coached here for several years and is a good family man," said Cornersville principal Bob Edens. "He knows the kids and is a good teacher on the field and in the classroom. I think he brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the program."
Stocstill also approved of who CHS chose as his successor, stating, "We have two young coaches here in John Denton and Ben Putman who I have a lot of confidence in. They are going to step up and take over so the program is in good hands."
While Cornersville returns several key players from last season's team, which finished with a 3-7 record, Denton is currently trying to swell the ranks of his squad after the Bulldogs started the 2011 campaign with 35 players on their roster.
"We're recruiting the hallways right now trying to get guys to come out for the team. We want to get the kids back that played in middle school, but decided not to play in high school," said Denton. "As a younger coach I think I can relate well to them. We've got a lot of good kids on the team already and I couldn't ask for a better bunch."
After averaging nearly 29 points per game on offense last year, Denton doesn't plan to make many change in the Bulldogs' spread attack.
"The spread has been good to us so we're going to keep the same offense, but add some wrinkles to it. We want to go faster and be the best conditioned team out there. We want to be like Oregon," said Denton "We can't control how athletic we are, but we can control how good a shape we're in. We've also changed the strength and conditioning program to fit what we want to do and the kids have really responded well to it."
Denton, however, plans to make major changes on the defensive side of the ball after Cornersville yielded 38.7 points per game this past season.
"Defensively, we are going to change things up. We're looking at some different things and are in the process of obtaining information to see what fits us best," said Denton. "We're going to try and keep things simple so that we can play fast and aggressive."
CHS' football program appears it will be in capable hands over the coming years.