FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) — With the first Football Friday just a couple of weeks away, On the Road with Olivia and Claudia heads back out to the Shoals to preview Rogers and Central.

Daniel Garrett is gearing up for his third season as the Rogers head coach, and year two was a good one, as the team garnered their first winning record since 2018 and finished in third in a loaded Class 4A region 7. But, Garrett credits his players for buying in for their quick turnaround.

“We’ve had a vision when we got here and we worked extremely hard to implement that vision but these players have been the ones that have changed it. We have a bunch of special young men that really are unselfish and will do whatever it takes to help their team be successful,” Garrett said.

So now the Pirates have had some time to adjust to Garrett’s systems, and they are bringing a lot of guys back that played some quality minutes last year. So, Garrett said he wants to see his players confident out there.

“When you look at somebody, they’re either going to fill you up or drain you. We want to create an environment this year that when someone plays us, they’re drained because of how excited and how much love they see for each other on the opposing sideline. If we can just do our job and then have some love and joy in it as we do it, I think the skies the limit for where we can go,” Garrett added.

Also in region 7 is Central, and Heath Wood is entering his 13th season leading the Wildcats. He’s learned a lot during that decade plus, and experienced some ups and downs, but Wood said it’s the players that make each year an exciting challenge.

“12 or 13 years ago I’m sitting up here with guys just like these guys that work hard, and they want to do what’s good for the school, and they want to be good for the community. I’m definitely blessed to be out there but 13 years, every year is new, so, this is like year one for me,” Wood said.

This year will definitely be different as Wood returns just five guys with solid experience from last year’ team. He said the younger players have done a good job stepping into some new positions, while those returners have taken on the leadership role – and now, Wood is ready to see it all come together.

“We have so many holes to fill but we had a good spring as far as that goes and we’re still making adjustments and still looking for people to fill certain positions but the work ethic is definitely there and we have a lot of guys that haven’t played and they are hungry to get out on the field so I’m excited about the opportunities for sure,” Wood added.

The Wildcats have week zero off and will open week one against East Limestone, while the Pirates will host Haleyville on August 25.