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Most high school coaches follow a similar path on their way to getting to be in charge of a program. Usually they are high school stars, go on to play some level of college ball, graduate, return to their alma mater or nearby as an assistant before being named head coach.
For Clermont Northeastern front man Jason Conley the journey has been anything but normal. That’s a good thing for the Rockets because normal on the football field has been an ongoing pattern of losing in recent seasons. With a year under his belt Conley feels he has CNE on the right path. We caught up with the coach and asked him about his trek and the state of Clermont Northeastern football.
TSF: As you begin your second year at the helm what are you most pleased with and where would you like to so your program still improve?
Conley: I am pleased with the fact that we have guys showing up and working hard right now. We got started a little late last year, and I am happy to get an actual off-season with the guys. For an improvement, we need to be able to move the ball on offense. Last year, we struggled at times getting the ball to our play makers. As a coaching staff, we will have to find a way to get the ball to those guys.
TSF: Your journey to becoming a head coach is not the atypical path that most take. You went to Oak Hills High School and then down the road to Rio Grande University, which did not field a football team, how and why did you end up at CNE as the front man?
Conley: My wife was transferred from the Marietta branch of her job to the Cincinnati branch. That brought me to the big city. Luckily, I have worked under some very knowledgeable coaches since I have been here. It has helped make up for a lack of college playing experience.
TSF: What is the biggest difference we will see in the Rockets in 2012?
Conley: We are going to try to take advantage of our speed on both offense and defense. We have picked up some guys from the baseball and basketball teams who will add some extra speed and athleticism.
TSF: The Rockets have two players who are capable of changing a contest with big plays in all three phases of the game. What makes Clay Cousino and Dallas Miracle so special and what will be their roles in 2012?
Conley: Those two guys are going to be very key parts to our success this year. They are both quick and athletic on both sides of the ball and on special teams. They have a good feel for the game and are just natural football players. They have been working very hard in the off-season and are going to be in better shape and stronger. As I said earlier, we have to find a way to get the ball into their hands and let them make plays.
TSF: One of the big keys to your success this fall will be how well the Rockets perform up front on both sides of the ball. Who can we see make an impact for you in the trenches?
Conley: We are not returning many starters on either side of the ball, but I think that senior Tony Khulenberg is a kid who could really lead our offensive line. He was asked to play many roles last year and is very quick to learn whatever position he is asked to play. On defense, I think that a few guys will be able to use their speed to make some plays. Dakota Parks and Blake Bishop got a lot of playing time last year and could make some plays for us this year. Jordan Jeffers is also a newcomer from the wrestling and track team who could add a little size that we lacked last year.
Greg is a co-founder of TSF and is now entering his ninth season as a Featured Analyst for the website. The Xavier University grad also serves as the Content Manager for the website and is widely considered one of the top high school football experts in the region. If you are interested in covering your team, please CONTACT US.