Defensive switch could lead to success for Wildcats

Warren County head coach Steve Crist runs a recent practice session on the school's practice field. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL — Warren County will look a little different on defense this year. The Wildcats have switched their base defensive formation from a 4-4 to a 4-2-5.

Warren County coach Steve Crist said they wanted to be more aggressive on defense.

“I think it will be a good change-up for us,” Crist said. “It’s a new alignment and a little bit of a new philosophy. We’ll probably be a little more aggressive than we’ve been.”

Crist said the Wildcats will be able to run a lot of different things out of that formation.

He said the players have adapted well to it.

“They’ve adjusted pretty well. It’s a little bit new,” Crist said. “Sometimes they aren’t quite sure, but each day we’re getting better and a little bit better with our assignments. We’re just trying to get better at the little stuff every day.”

WILDCAT DEPTH: Warren County has 59 players on the varsity squad this year, which should give them plenty of depth this season.

Crist said that can be valuable in a lot of ways.

“We do have some pretty good depth,” Crist said. “We’re looking at guys at many positions. It helps practice, because there’s always competition, which is always good. You can’t be complacent even in practice, which is going to make you better in the game.”

Crist said having 59 on the varsity is pretty typical, and about where they would like it.

One of the deepest positions might be at wide receiver. Crist said that Cam Ford and Marqwon Haley will be two of the top guys they are looking to, but there are others who could help them out this season.

“In our (first) scrimmage we played a lot of receivers,” Crist said. “We think we can go six or eight deep.”

FITTING IN: Crist is starting his second year as head coach and said things are naturally going smoother than last year.

Last year the Wildcats started off slowly, losing their first five games, but turned things around and played their best football as the season went on. The Wildcats advanced to the playoffs with four wins their last five games.

With a year under his belt, Crist said the preseason has gone even better than before.

“There wasn’t as much of a learning experience with them (this year),” Crist said. “Then we had the whole off season also to understand personalities. It’s been nice. We didn’t have to worry about any transition or anything like that. It was definitely a positive.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or