ALLEGHANY COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) – This year will be the inaugural season for the newly formed Alleghany High School football team. After Covington High School merged with Alleghany at the end of the 2022 school year, the newly named Alleghany High School Cougar Football team has been able to come together and form a special bond on the field.

“When we first heard of it two years ago I was like this isn’t going to be good. But years on it just kind of felt normal,” said Alleghany senior wide receiver Purcel Turner.

For Alleghany senior offensive lineman Caleb Walden this new team is a great way to start fresh and wipe the slate clean.

“I like it. It feels like no matter what happened last year between us and last year between Covington it’s just new a new opportunity I think.”

With this team comes new beginnings, an identity, and a slew of new firsts for the Alleghany High School football program.

“It brings me more happiness because I wear the number 14. I’m the first person to ever wear 14 and other people are going to be wearing it through out the years,” said Turner.

For Walden, this new Alleghany team offers a wide array of opportunities.

“It’s like the first guy that invented football. It’s like what is this? It’s just like you get to create your own path to show teams who you really are now.”

They may have new jerseys, a new name, and a color scheme. But for the Cougars head coach Will Fields, unity is the name of the game.

“The kids are doing great they’ve been together in the weight room and doing some things on the field and it’s been much smoother than you could ever hope for and we’re very excited about the prospects.”

Being the new team comes with its share of perks and for the players, this moment in time may just give them an advantage on the field.

“Being able to see other teams in film but they’ve never seen us we can then pop them in the mouth and they’d never know and catch them by surprise,” explained Turner.

For Walden, this new combined squad may be able to take down some of the toughest opponents in the Three Rivers District.

“Let’s say we go to play Glenvar, Radford, or Cave Spring we all have their film and their plays they don’t change. Ours is all new everything so nobody knows what we’re going to hit them with.”

For Coach Fields, this merger is also about bringing two communities together.

“You know those old cougars are die-hard and we want to do something to make them proud. They’re not sure of us right now. But we want them to feel like they own this new set of cougars and so that they can be a part of it. So we’re hoping to get them out for these first two home games and to win them over with the product we put on the field.”

The new Alleghany Cougars open their season at home against Waynesboro on August 25th, kickoff is set for 7 p.m.