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Up close with Chattanooga Central and Notre Dame football

A Chattanooga Central football player squats a tremendous amount of weight in summer workouts. Photo: WTVC

The saying goes that experience is the best teacher.

Chattanooga Central coach Cortney Braswell and his team are banking on that.

It's time to take a look at the Pounders and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

During a weight workout before the mandated "dead period," Braswell told his team, "Because when you get comfortable, you get complacent. And when you get complacent, you get careless and when you get careless, you lose football games."

Last season, Central lost eight games.

Braswell, in his second year, seeks to change that.

He has 17 returning starters.

This year, the Pounders are deeper and stronger. "When we took over, we had a roster of about 35 people. Now we've got over 60. We had seven kids that could squat over 300, today over 45 kids squat over 300 pounds on our football team so we feel really good about where we've come from," Braswell said.

He knows a turn around will take more than simply pushing weight around. "I tell them all the time we don't lose, we learn."

This coach knows his team has put in the hard work, lifting and running in the off season.

The focus going forward is on character, culture and mindset. Braswell reflected and looked ahead, "We saw so much determination and we saw so many guys fight and claw. Now, we've got to turn that into execution."

Across town at Notre Dame, the Fighting Irish will now compete in Division II.

Coach Charlie Fant sees it as a leveling of the playing field.

In the past, the Irish have played much larger schools. Fant said, "It is a fun and nice feeling to know that we're about to play teams that are just like us."

That said, the Irish will look a lot different this year.

Sam Stovall will lead the way in the trenches.

Cam Wynn will serve as the dynamic playmaker.

Landon Allen and T.J. McGhee will alternate at quarterback.

The defense won't blitz as much and the Irish have changed their offense. Fant explained, "We want to play fast. We're very athletic. Even though we're strong up front, we don't have lots of people up front."

On Friday, NewsChannel 9 will preview Oolteway, which has stepped up to division 6A.

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