Orange's Snowden shows toughness, quickness
Quarterback Kofi Hill and the Orange football team will play host to New Albany on Friday, Sept. 14, in the OCC-Capital opener.
Cole Snowden is the epitome of toughness, at least in the eyes of Olentangy Orange High School football coach Brian Cross.
The 6-foot, 240-pound guard has started for three seasons for the Pioneers, but it's the senior's tireless work off the field that has made him a success on it.
"Cole is tough and is probably the hardest-working kid I have coached," said Cross, who is in his 31st season as a head coach and has 213 career victories. "He really has dedicated himself to the game for the past two years in the weight room, trying to improve his foot speed and quickness. He has great leg strength and good drive."
Snowden was a wrestler until his sophomore year, when he decided to dedicate himself to the weight room and to the football program.
"I have been working on my speed with numerous drills and have dropped my time in the 40(-yard dash) from 5.0 (seconds) to 4.8," said Snowden, who squats 500 pounds and bench presses 335 pounds. "I've been doing a lot of 40-yard dashes, leg lifts and squats. I have been working to get better and it has shown on the field.
"You have to have quick feet, especially on pass plays. It's also good for run blocking."
Snowden said making himself better also has made the rest of the team better.
"The (offensive) line is the toughest position on the field," he said. "Everything starts with the line. It doesn't matter who you have in the backfield, you still have to move the ball and the line opens things up for that."
Cross said Snowden's quickness and aggressive nature are perfect complements to the Pioneers' wing-T running attack.
"Cole has so much experience as a third-year starter with good strength and quickness," Cross said. "He's good at pulling and getting out in the wing-T. He's athletic enough that he can take on some of the smaller, quicker linebackers coming through."
Starting as a sophomore was a tough learning experience for Snowden. The offensive line took time to jell, with the Pioneers losing four of their first six games. But they won the final four contests to finish with a winning record.
"As a sophomore when I started, everything was a lot faster and everyone was bigger than I was used to going up against," said Snowden, who was second-team all-OCC-Capital Division last season. "I wasn't as big then, about 6-foot, 205 pounds. Now I'm at 6-foot, 240. When (opponents) have size on you, you have to work hard on your technique to beat them."
The Pioneers defeated Worthington Kilbourne 21-19 on Sept. 7 to improve to 2-1 overall heading into their OCC-Capital opener Friday, Sept. 14, at home against New Albany. Last year, Orange beat the Eagles 32-7 and finished in a three-way tie for the league championship with Big Walnut and New Albany at 6-1.
Snowden said the Pioneers learned a lesson from this season's opener in which they led by 15 points at halftime but lost to Liberty 43-21 on Aug. 24.
"I was really excited to run out on the field in that first game (as a senior against Liberty). I had been working for that for three years," Snowden said. "But we lost and I learned that you have to come out strong and keep pounding it. You can't give up. You have to go out and finish."
After the Pioneers play New Albany, they will begin a stretch that features teams with winning records in four of the next five games, including a road contest with Olentangy on Sept. 21. That five-week run will prove whether Orange is a playoff contender.
"We have some big games coming up, and it will all come down to how we practice," Snowden said. "It all starts with practice. How you practice determines how you show up in games."