CCHS lands Powell as new defensive coordinator

Published 3:35 pm Thursday, February 23, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

Chilton County High School got its new man to head up their defense in former Meek High School head coach Houston Powell. Powell will serve as the new defensive coordinator at CCHS starting in the 2023 season.

Powell, a graduate of Marbury High School in 2009, was looking for an opportunity to both rise the classification ranks and get closer to family. For 13 years, Powell has coached around the state of Alabama as both a head coach and defensive coordinator, and now gets his wish returning closer to home.

“It was always a dream to get back to this area and be close to my family, but the fits were never just right,” Powell said. “I got the opportunity to be the DC here, and coach Morton is doing some really great things and I felt like he is moving in the right direction, and I wanted to come and be a part of something special. It felt like a really good fit, and they have a lot of really good players. It was a great opportunity for me and my family.”

Morton, who coached at Marbury in the past, knew Powell wanted to move up in classification. CCHS had an opening at the DC spot with former coordinator Phil Coggins taking the head coaching job at Pike Liberal Arts School in Troy.

“From the first time, I met him I knew he was a good fit for Chilton County,” Morton said. “What he did at Meek the last three years was impressive, and him being around the kids and already building that rapport with them is going to be good for our program. He is very energetic … We try to create a culture of enthusiasm here.”

Powell was the head man at Meek from 2020-2022, and Meek had been winless (0-10) in 2019 the season before he took over. After a 1-9 record in 2020, Powell got Meek to the state playoffs with an 8-4 record in 2021 and advanced to the second round of the Class 1A playoffs. Powell continued to improve the program, leading Meek to an undefeated regular season in 2022 and advancing again to the second round of the state playoffs.

Powell said Meek knew up front that if he got the opportunity to coach closer to home that he would take it, and the two parties left on great terms.

“I enjoyed my time at Meek, and they were really good to me,” Powell said. “We want this program to be special. We want this program to be like one of those programs that say ‘I want to be like Chilton County.’ We want that standard of football here, and it is definitely heading in the right direction.”

Powell and Morton both share the same mentality on defense — an aggressive style that will be physical up front with takeaways as the highest priority. CCHS was young at the defensive line and linebacker positions last season and will have returners coming back in 2023 from each. However, the Tigers will have to replace four graduates in its defensive backs corps.

“We are out there to create turnovers, fly to the football and the biggest thing is just being extremely aggressive,” Powell said. “We are going to be the dominant factor when we take the field. We do not care if the ball is on their 20-yard line or our 1-yard line, we are going out there to showcase what we can do. We definitely have the players and the pieces to be successful on defense.”

Powell has always been a defensive-minded coach and said the last three years as a head coach he was limited on what he could do with defense as far as play calling. He is looking forward to getting back to the coordinator ranks and being more detailed in his approach to the defense at CCHS.

Powell said being a head coach in the past helps him work under a head coach “because he can understand what goes through Morton’s mind and everything he has to deal with on a daily basis,” and he is excited he does not have to deal with that anymore as well.

“This is a really good group of kids that I have gotten to meet, a great community, great teachers and administrators, and it is going to be an exciting time,” Powell said. “The excitement is building towards August, and our goal is to be the best defense in the state and we want to compete and beat the best.”

Feb. 22 was Powell’s first day on the CCHS campus. High school football assistant coaches normally have to finish out their term at their previous school before moving on, only having two-three months with their new team to get ready for the season.

Powell will have triple that amount of time to instill his philosophies in his new players.

“For me, it was a great situation, and CCHS did an incredible job of being able to bring me in during February to allow me to have all this time before the summer,” Powell said. “I feel like I have the upper hand on a lot of other coaches. I am extremely grateful for that.”

“I am only as strong as my assistant coaches,” Morton said. “We both have like-minded beliefs and philosophies, and we are going to work together in order to change this program here at Chilton County.”

Powell said securing a few region wins in 2023, making the state playoffs and winning a game or two in the postseason would be a successful first year in his eyes.

“I hope the community of Clanton and Tiger Nation, when they come to football games on Friday night and our defense takes the field, I hope they have a sense of pride in the product we are putting out there,” Powell said.