Anderson glad to be back at home with Tri-County

Anderson glad to be back at home with Tri-County

OAKLAND — As an assistant football coach over the last 14 years, Brian Anderson couldn't help being curious about how his alma mater's program fared each Friday night.

Now, there's good news for the 1999 Oakland graduate: He'll have not only direct knowledge of each Tri-County result, but also a hand in the outcomes.

Anderson has stepped into the Titans' top coaching spot — the first such role in his career — and will attempt to end a playoff drought for the co-op program that dates back to 2014.

"It's my hometown, so it means a lot to me," Anderson said. "It was really important to me when I was a kid, playing with my buddies. It's exciting to go back to your hometown and try to turn it around a little bit."

Anderson follows in the footsteps of Casey Pinnell, who collected an 8-19 record in three campaigns before departing for the same job at Robinson.

Tri-County finished just one victory shy of Class 1A playoff qualification the season prior. Getting over the hump won't be easy, however, as the Titans have some growing up to do.

"The first game I watched from last year, 17 of the 22 starters were seniors. So we're pretty young," Anderson said. "We need to be better in Week 9 than we are in Week 1."

It didn't take Anderson long to learn whether or not these youthful Titans would buy in to their new leader's mission.

"I'll tell you what: We don't have a lot of guys — 34, 35 guys. But their effort and attendance this summer was unbelievable," Anderson said. "I think we had 81 percent attendance this summer, which was phenomenal."

Leading the charge was junior Mitch Pollock, the projected starting quarterback whom Anderson said "had a great summer."

Other individuals Anderson expects to be key playmakers are junior running back/linebacker Lane Bisby, senior running back Blake Lee and senior pass-catcher Mason Hutchinson. Anderson also is excited about senior lineman Leo Wheeler, who was described by his coach as "a big monster kid."

"We want to eventually get to where we're a physical, hard-nosed football team," Anderson said. "I wouldn't say we're there yet."

This mentality was born from Anderson's time with three bosses he describes as Hall of Fame caliber.

Former Danville coach B.J. Luke holds that distinction with the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association, while ex-Oakland coach Aaron Davis and current Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin leader Mark Dodd also fall into this category for Anderson.

"You take a little bit from all of them," Anderson said. "I've been blessed that way."

The onus is now on Anderson to expel this knowledge to the Titans. Perhaps it'll take a little time for Anderson's lessons to equal more wins, but that's only half the battle anyway.

"You just keep coaching, coaching teaching and keep motivating," Anderson said. "Our kids have worked their rear ends off. Some of them would run through a brick wall for you."

Tri-County's 2018 schedule

DATE OPPONENT TIME

Aug. 24 vs. ALAH 7 p.m.

Aug. 31 at South Fork 7 p.m.

Sept. 7 vs. Sangamon Valley 7 p.m.

Sept. 14 vs. Cumberland 7 p.m.

Sept. 21 at Salt Fork 7 p.m.

Sept. 28 at Oblong 7 p.m.

Oct. 5 vs. Martinsville 7 p.m.

Oct. 12 at Villa Grove/Heritage 7 p.m.

Oct. 19 at Arcola 7 p.m.

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