Now the Astros have enjoyed five straight winning seasons and four consecutive trips to the state playoffs. Cofield and his staff have done yeoman's work here.
"You can only appreciate where we are if you know where we started when we first got here," recalls Cofield. "There was four years of bad losing seasons. The two before a got here were 0-10 and the two that followed that were 1-9. We had to change that mentality to a successful mentality. There is no excuse for you to not work. Those people that you will play on Friday nights don't care about what you may or may not have, so you still have to prepare. The discipline, the expectation, we don't care about what we have or what the record is . You still have to do your job. It's a teaching moment, when I get to teach them about life.”
Senior leadership is something that has been a plus for Douglass this season. Cofield is quick to credit the senior nucleus of defensive tackle Carlos Allen Jr., cornerback Keyon Coley, linebacker Rodney Davie, cornerback Kevon Godard and guard Isaiah Washington.
Washington leads an offensive line that clears the way for a ground attack that the Astros have leaned on all season. They have been opening the holes for running back Quintavious Lockett. The 5-foot-11 220-pound sophomore has already received offers from Kentucky, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Georgia.
"That's a grown man," exclaims Cofield. "He has 32 touchdowns and over 1,800 yards this season. Last week we were at the 1 yard line on fourth-and-goal. I told him, ‘This is what you came here for. I'm going to put it in your hands.’ He went off tackle and the outside linebacker hit him. He spun around and the defensive tackle hit him, but he didn't stop. Next thing you know, he's in the end zone. He's a humble giant. Usually in our system, the quarterback is the guy. But when you have a quarterback (Quandarius Sterling) that can run the ball and you have Lockett, that's big.”
Cofield admits that the Douglass defense has been a work in progress for much of the season, but perhaps had it best game last week at Jefferson County. The Astros defense held a Warriors offense that normally scores 30 points per game to just eight.