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Forsyth Herald • Johns Creek Herald • Milton Herald • Revue & News

HIGH SCHOOL August 2013

FOOTBALL Special Section

Photo by al levine

Treyvon Paulk, Milton Photo by STUDIO 7 PHOTOGRAPHY

Josh Selembo, Roswell

Cameron Kline, South Forsyth

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Jack Longmore, Central Forsyth

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2 August 2013

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Table Of Contents Fulton/Forsyth Preview��������������������������������������������������������������4 Team Schedules���������������������������������������������������������������� 18-19 Alpharetta Raiders������������������������������������������������������������������ 10 Blessed Trinity Gladiators������������������������������������������������������� 13 Cambridge Bears��������������������������������������������������������������������� 16 Centennial Knights���������������������������������������������������������������������8 Central Forsyth Bulldogs���������������������������������������������������������17 Chattahoochee Cougars������������������������������������������������������������6 Fellowship Christian Academy Paladins������������������������������ 12 Johns Creek Gladiators����������������������������������������������������������� 11 Kings Ridge Christian Tigers�����������������������������������������������������6 Lambert Longhorns����������������������������������������������������������������� 12 Milton Eagles���������������������������������������������������������������������������� 16 Mount Pisgah Christian Patriots������������������������������������������� 11 North Forsyth Raiders������������������������������������������������������������� 14 Northview Titans���������������������������������������������������������������������� 19 Roswell Hornets����������������������������������������������������������������������� 15 South Forsyth War Eagles������������������������������������������������������ 10 St. Francis Knights����������������������������������������������������������������������8 West Forsyth Wolverines�������������������������������������������������������� 14 A special thank you for providing content for this section to: Lily McGregor Photography (www.lilymcgregorphotography.com), John Hurst (www.hurstphotos.zenfolio.com), Kent McCorkle (www.kentsfotos.com), Studio 7 Photography (www.studio7hub.com), Renee Koster and the Northview High School Gridiron Club, Carrie Kelly and the Roswell High School Touchdown Club. And thanks to the North Fulton and Forsyth County Schools that allowed us a glimpse into their pre-season world.

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Most stars gone from North Fulton teams Talented 2012 group tough for some to replace By MIKE BLUM NORTH FULTON, Ga. – The 2013 high school football season begins with less hype regarding North Fulton’s top players, with several area teams going into the new season following heavy graduation losses. Four of the area’s six teams in the new Class AAAAAA qualified for the playoffs last year, along with Blessed Trinity in AAA and Mount Pisgah Christian in the Class A private school division. All the AAAAAA playoff qualifiers and Blessed Trinity had a number of standout seniors, with Alpharetta and Milton featuring multiple Division 1 signees. The top teams in both AAAAAA regions including North Fulton schools are not expected to be as strong as they were in 2012, with some openings available for teams that did not make the playoffs last year. Despite losing some outstanding skill position players, West Forsyth and Alpharetta again appear to be the top teams in Region 6-AAAAAA West Forsyth was the lone team in the region to win a playoff game, while the Raiders suffered their second straight heartbreaking post-season defeat. Alpharetta was one of the North Fulton schools to graduate a number of Division 1 signees, but the Raiders still have a significant amount of returning talent, led by wide receiver Daniel Cle-

ments, one of the area’s top prospects. Other local players expected to attract attention from college coaches include receivers Christian Robinson of Centennial and Colin Lisa of Chattahoochee and running backs Treyvon Paulk of Milton and Chase Solomon of Johns Creek. Last year’s Johns Creek team lacked for college prospects, but the Gladiators had a deep senior class that led them to 17 wins the last two seasons. With only a handful of returning starters, the Gladiators will be a long shot for the playoffs, leaving at least one spot open. Chattahoochee appears to have enough talent, especially on offense, to hang on to one of the other playoff spots in 6-AAAAAA, but the Cougars will have to adjust to a new coach after Terry Crowder left for Creekview in Cherokee County. Centennial and Lambert are attempting to move into playoff contention, with the Knights hoping the momentum of a strong second half showing in 2012 carries over. Lambert won eight games in both 2010 and ’11, and started 5-0 last season before losing its last five games to miss the playoffs. The Longhorns will be looking to rebound and return to the playoffs, with South Forsyth and North Forsyth hoping for better things after going a combined 1-13 in the region last year. Milton will again be a contender in 5-AAAAAA, with Lassiter and Walton the likely region favorites. Lassiter lost

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The Raiders still have a significant amount of returning talent, led by wide receiver Daniel Clements, one of the area’s top prospects. another standout quarterback, but the Trojans have replaced him with the latest in a string of talented transfers. Wheeler was the only other team in the region with a winning record last season, with Etowah, Woodstock and Roswell all trying to improve on losing 2012 seasons. The Hornets have a new coach after going 3-17 last year, but have to replace almost all the top players from a team that could have won more than three games. Northview has a chance to contend for its first ever playoff berth, but the Titans will have to improve defensively for that to happen. Creekview and Sequoyah were the top two teams from the Region 7-AAAAA sub-region that Northview is in, and along with Kell and Pope on the opposite side, remain among the region‘s top teams Also in that sub-region is Forsyth Central, which went 2-8 after losing all three close games on its schedule, winning only against first year school Cambridge and a weak North Springs

team, who are also in the sub-region. Cambridge will be better this season, but this is just the second year of football for the Bears. Blessed Trinity tied for first in 6-AAA, but the Titans were hit hard by graduation and play in a six-team region with five strong playoff challengers. Only Towers is a non-contender. With the 16 teams that qualify for the Class A private school playoffs determined by a point system, region standings are no longer the path for making it to the post-season. Mount Pisgah slipped into the playoffs as the lowest seed of the 16 teams last year, but has a chance to move up thanks to its returning talent. King’s Ridge is hoping to contend for a playoff spot after a third straight 5-5 season, with Fellowship Christian playing under a new coach after a third 2-8 record the last four years. All three teams are in the same subregion in Region 6-A, with St. Francis playing a non-region schedule in its second season of varsity football.

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6 August 2013

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Tigers looking to break out of 5-5 rut By MIKE BLUM ALPHARETTA, Ga. – The King’s Ridge Christian Tigers have gone 5-5 in each of their three football seasons in the GHSA, and begin the 2013 season with a decent nucleus of returning starters. The Tigers were not hit especially hard by graduation, but coach Jeff Pickren says the team “had a couple of players transfer out,” and suffered one key injury loss. Bailey Miller returns for his third season as the starting quarterback, and gives the Tigers a veteran presence who Pickren says, “knows where the ball is supposed to go and can get it there on time.” Miller will key the team’s passing team, but King’s Ridge will be without its main rushing threat, as Tarez Miller (unrelated) will miss the season with a knee injury. Penny Hart, who will also play receiver, and Connor Henderson will handle much of the ball carrying duties, with Pickren looking for balance between rushing and passing. Remy Lazarus also returns at receiver, with Cliff Farrow and Zach Pitts heading up a line that Pickren says “is not very big.” Pickren expects the Knights to be comparable offensively to what they were last year. “I feel pretty good about

my first group, but we don’t have a whole lot of depth.” That also applies to defense, which will feature many of the players who will also play extensively on offense. Austyn Hennings, Alex Edwards and Michael Okafor will play in the defensive line, with returning starter Sam Garrard at linebacker. Henderson also played linebacker last season, but Pickren says “we’re going to try and get him off the field on defense,” because of his duties at running back. Colin Richard, a backup last season, will move into a more prominent role at linebacker. Austin Higginbotham is back in the secondary and will be joined by Hart and Will Janofsky, who will also contribute at wide receiver. Pickren says he is looking for some of the team’s younger players to step up in several areas, with the secondary and offensive line among them. Heading into the season, Pickren says the Tigers “have a lot of questions,” but if they come up with a few answers, the hopes of a first winning season are within reach.

PHOTO BY KEITH MAJOR

Chattahoochee Cougars receiver Collin Lisa (13) advances a pass for a first down at midfield during a game against Centennial last year.

Cougars’ new coach faces numbers concerns Team has talent, but questions in both lines By MIKE BLUM JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – After nine mostly successful seasons as Chattahoochee’s head football coach, Terry Crowder left for Creekview in Cherokee County, with veteran coach Michael Owens coming over from Brookwood to take over as the Cougars’ new head coach. Owens, who started the football program at Peachtree Ridge, has been in coaching for 25 years, working for some of the state’s top head coaches, including T. McFerrin and Dave Hunter. Owens has coached in three state championship games, and takes over a program that won a state title as recently as 2010. The Cougars went 32-6 in Crowder’s last three seasons as head coach (7-4 last year), winning a state title in the second largest classification before returning to the largest classification prior to last season. Chattahoochee is one of the smallest schools in the new 6A classification, with numbers among the biggest concerns for Owens heading into the 2013 season. Owens inherits some talent, especially at the skill positions, but a lot of that talent will be playing extensively on both offense and defense. The Cougars will feature one of the best wide receiver duos around, with Colin Lisa having “the best hands of any receiver I’ve seen in high school,” Owens says. Lisa caught 37 passes for 689 yards and eight touchdowns last year, and will be joined on the outside by returning starter Avery Ward, who will be the team’s primary deep threat. Also returning is running back Chase Nelson, a starter as a freshman on the state championship team of 2010. Nelson gives the Cougars a strong inside running threat, with Kieron Ashley and Montel Austin more in the

tailback mold. There is some uncertainty going into the season at the quarterback position. Adam Perleberg, the back-up last year to Travis Marshall, is in the running along with move-in Taz Wilson, whose eligibility had yet to be determined due to a residency issue. The Cougars have fielded a string of outstanding quarterbacks in recent years, and Owens hopes that tradition continues no matter which contender emerges as the starter. Nick Williams is the lone returning starter in the line, which is Owens’ main offensive concern. “A lot of guys have to step up,” says Owen, who is looking for new starters while also installing some new aspects to the Chattahoochee offense. The line also has some question marks on defense, with Owens having several players to choose from for possible starting roles. The linebacker position will be a strength for the Cougars, led by Josh Weisberg and Nate Sherman, who should be one of the top tandems around. Trey Hillman will also contribute there. Austin and Ashley will both play extensively at corner, with Ward and Lisa also playing at safety. Because of Ward and Lisa’s offensive responsibilities, Michael Fusco and Malik Stephens also should see action at safety. “We’re making a lot of changes,” says Owens, who also has a lot of personnel decisions to make while introducing his system. But Owens says his “biggest transition has been dealing with the numbers difference,” between Brookwood, one of many Gwinnett 6A schools with enrollment and participation considerably higher than Chattahoochee, which struggled the years in which it played in a Gwinnett-dominated region. As usual, the Cougars will sport a strong kicking game thanks to the return of Adam Abdellaoui, who will be among the area’s top kickers.

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8 August 2013

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Knights hope to jump into playoff contention Receiver Robinson to draw defensive attention By MIKE BLUM ROSWELL, Ga. – In its fourth, fifth and sixth seasons as a varsity football team, the Centennial Knights went 27-7 and won games both years they advanced to the state playoffs. During the last year of that stretch, Centennial went 8-2 but did not qualify for the playoffs. In the nine years since, Centennial has two playoff berths (both after 5-5 seasons), one winning season (6-4) and zero playoff victories. It’s been a decade since the Knights made any sort of impact on the local football scene, with .500 seasons about the best they could manage since Mike Cloy (currently the Johns Creek head coach) put Centennial on the map a little over a decade ago. Centennial went 3-7 last season after an 0-5 start under first year head coach Jeff Carlberg, playing solid football the second half of the season. Carlberg and his players hope their winning finish will carry over into 2013, which begins like most Centennial seasons, with the Knights

hovering somewhere between possible playoff contenders and also-rans. Centennial returns a majority of its offensive starters, including one of the state’s top receivers, and will look for improvement on defense, even with just three starters back. “We’ve got a lot of shoes to fill,� Carlberg says. “But we’ll be more athletic this year. I’m pretty excited.� Leading the way for the Knights is wide receiver Christian Robinson, who has enjoyed two straight 1000-yard seasons. Robinson caught 72 passes for 1053 yards and 11 touchdowns last year, but will have a new quarterback delivering the ball to him this season. Matthew Harries takes over as quarterback after starting at receiver last season, and will benefit from one season in the offensive system Carlberg installed when he took over as head coach. He also has “some good weapons around him to get the ball to,� Carlberg points out, Robinson chief among them. Opposing defenses will focus their defensive efforts on Robinson, with Carlberg hoping the Knights can look elsewhere for offensive support. Versatile sophomore Caden Herring showed promise as a freshman as both a receiver

and runner, and gives the Knights a second perimeter threat. Centennial will rely on the inside running of Marvin Taylor and Patrick Inwood, with Inwood seeing varsity action last year as a sophomore. A number of players are competing for the other receiver positions, with St. Francis transfer James Kelley providing some speed, and some newcomers looking to break into the lineup. Alex Yankey, Nick Krauter and Chris Conway return in the offensive line, helping to make Harries’ transition to quarterback a little smoother. The Knights have some athletes on defense, but are a little shy on experience. Most of the line will be new, but Carlberg likes the size of his linebackers, most of whom weigh from 200 to 220 and are in the 6-foot-2 to 6-foot-4 range. One of the linebackers is Alex Estes, whose twin brother Andrew will be one of the defensive linemen. Patrick Risse also returns at linebacker, with Chris Calhoun moving from end to provide a little more size at outside linebacker. Carlberg is looking for a major contribution from track standout Alex Richemond, who he describes as “a phenomenal athlete.� Richemond, a strong safety,

PHOTO BY AL LEVINE

Centennial’s Caden Herring celebrates after scoring a TD against Alpharetta last year. and corner Stefan Young are back on the football field after not playing last year, and will head up what should be a strong secondary that could include Thomas Dreesman from the lacrosse team. Devin O’Neill returns to handle the kicking duties, with Centennial capable of fielding

some dangerous kick returners. The Knights were not hit as hard by graduation as some of the other teams in the region, and Carlberg says he “feels like we’re in the mix. I feel a little better about our ability to compete. The second half of last season, we were competitive in all our games.�

2nd season for St. Francis Knights Team again plays non-region schedule By MIKE BLUM

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MILTON, Ga – The St. Francis Knights begin their second full season of varsity football with the team’s numbers a little down compared to last year. Again this year, the Knights will play a non-region schedule, but will play a full region schedule beginning with the 2014. That will make St. Francis eligible for the playoffs. St. Francis is coming off a 4-6 season that second year head coach Brennan Booth says “could have been 6-4 or 2-8. We played a couple of games that were really close.� All four of the 2012 victories came in the team’s last six games, with the Knights facing the toughest teams on their schedule early in the season. They open at Prince Avenue Christian, which lost in the Class A private school championship game. This season’s team includes several players who were part of the first St. Francis football team as freshmen. The Knights played a mostly junior varsity schedule the first two seasons. Joey Roche returns for his final season as quarterback in the team’s triple option offense, the same one run by Georgia Tech. Jonah Huff, the team’s leading rusher, also returns in the backfield along with Knox Eden-

field, who will contribute in several areas. Although the Knights don’t pass much, they have been effective through the air, with leading receiver Nathan Waller averaging 28 yards per reception, scoring seven touchdowns on 19 catches. Seth Cecil and Brent Turry are back in the offensive line, and will be joined by Lake McCkure and Beau Sundy. St. Francis was effective offensively in most of its games last season, scoring 20 or more points seven times. But in three of the six losses, the Knights scored a combined seven points. Most of the offensive starters will also start on defense, with McClure leading the team in tackles in 2012 from his linebacker position. Defensive back Lance Pecot also returns after leading the team in interceptions. “Our numbers are down a little bit,� Booth notes, “but the quality is better than we’ve had. We’re definitely a younger team, which we have been for a while.� Booth has been with the program since it started, first as defensive coordinator. He believes the team “will be better in some spots,� than last year, but admits, “We still have a lot of growing to do.�

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Experience will drive War Eagles to victory By ALDO NAHED aldo@forsythherald.com CUMMING, Ga. — South Forsyth High School Head Football Coach Jeff Arnette said the War Eagle strength this year is experience. “The three years that I’ve been here, this is the most experienced team that I’ve had,” Arnette said. “It’s the largest team — full squad — that I’ve had.” Because most of the players have been with Coach Arnette from their freshmen year, they know the coaching staff, expectation and have built a strong bond. “It’s our strength as a football program to have that kind of experience coming back,” Arnette said. The players have also gotten accustomed to the way the program is run at South. “They don’t know any other way than the way we do it,” Arnette said. “I think the strides they’ve made in the weight room is second to none.” Arnette said the War Eagle’s challenge this year will be the roster of teams they are up against. From Chattahoochee High School to Alpharetta and West Forsyth’s teams, the test this year will be beating some well-established programs. “There are some awfully good teams in this region and only four go to the playoffs and a few pretty good teams are not going to be able to get into the

Aldo Nahed/staff

Matt Cira during a War Eagles practice.

playoffs,” Arnette said. Brett Larkin, a linebacker and rising senior, said the hard work over the summer has prepared the team for the season. “We’ve worked real hard and we’re more connected than we’ve ever been,” Larkin said. “We have a good group of leaders; our defense is real good this year.” Isaiah Williams, senior tailback and linebacker, said the team’s togetherness will yield great things this year. “I believe we’re ready to show them what we’ve got,” Williams said. This Friday, at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 16, the War Eagles play an exhibition away game against Winder-Barrow High School. On Aug. 30, the team plays away at Northview High School. Visit www.sfwareaglefootball.com for more information.

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Alpharetta’s Daniel Clements, 86, top returning offensive player.

Playoff victory tops Raiders’ wish list Team still talented without 2012 stars By MIKE BLUM ALPHARETTA, Ga. – After three straight winning seasons and three consecutive playoff appearances, the Alpharetta Raiders have something they want to accomplish this season. Win a playoff game. The Raiders have been eliminated in the first round of the state playoffs each of the past three years, the last two losses coming in excruciatingly painful fashion. After going 9-1 and 7-3 the last two seasons, much of the talent from those squads is gone. But the Raiders are not lacking in that department this season, even though there are some big shoes left to fill. The Raiders have to replace Division I caliber players at quarterback, wide receiver and the defensive line, as well as other key senior starters. “Any time you have that many talented kids, it’s not easy to replace,” Alpharetta coach Jason Dukes says. The Raiders return a decent nucleus from last year, along with newcomers from an undefeated junior varsity team. “We have a lot of kids from the JV who will be asked to step up and play major roles,” Dukes says. The biggest challenge is reserved for junior Austin King, who will take over at quarterback for Josh Dobbs, who accounted for over 4,000 yards and 39 touchdowns last season. Dukes describes King as “a pocket quarterback” with a strong arm and “a good understanding of our system.” King is not the runner Dobbs was, but Dukes hopes the Raiders will help compensate for that with a stronger ground game. Alpharetta has several candidates for the running back position, including 2012 backup Lem Cobbs, Wesleyan transfer Miles Smith and Breon Murry, a speedy move-in from St. Louis. “I think the running game will be much improved,” Dukes offers. “But a lot depends on the offensive line.” Guards Zach Mikos and Jacob Arnold return, with Nick Torrance and Cary Shirley taking over at tackle and

Chris Wagner at center. Dukes says the line will have “fair size,” and will be counted on to protect King and create some space for a running game that has been mostly ineffective for the pass-oriented Raiders the past few seasons. King will have a talented group of receivers, led by Daniel Clements, who led the team with 1286 yards and nine TD receptions. Andre Harton also returns, with the Raiders getting some help from the JV team. Elijah Bennett, who Dobbs describes as “one of the best athletes in North Fulton,” is also in the mix at both running back and receiver, “and we have to find the right place for him.” Even without Dobbs and a talented group of receivers, Dukes says “I have a very good feeling about our offense.” The Raiders also lost plenty of talent on defense, but Dukes believes his team could be better on that side of the ball this season. Defensive end Andrew Butcher is a highly prized prospect, with fellow juniors Austin Hoffman and Brandon Meeks also expected to make key contributions in the line. Senior Auzoyah Alufohai from Nigeria is 6-4, 309 and playing football for the first time, and is described by Dukes “as a bit of a wild card.” The Raiders will be “as deep at linebacker as we’ve ever been,” Dukes says, led by Bryce Grauss, one of the area’s top returning players and the team’s leading tackler as a sophomore and junior. Jalin Johnson will join Grauss on the inside, with Dorian Lee leading the competition on the inside. The secondary took a hit when returning corner DeAndre Watkins suffered a broken collarbone, but Dukes hopes to have him back for the season opener. The Raiders have some promising youngsters capable of moving into the lineup at corner, with seniors Chase Stratton and Jay Youngblood giving them a standout pair of safeties. Dukes says the Raiders “have raised the bar” for the program the past few seasons, but need to take the next step. “We’ve had two really tough losses in the playoffs the past two seasons, and we understand that it’s nobody’s fault but our own. We have to work hard to achieve different results and we’re prepared to do that.”

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Gladiators rebuilding after 2 big seasons Team to rely on handful of returning starters By MIKE BLUM JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — The Johns Creek Gladiators began their football program in the Fall of 2009 with a core group of players who went 17-3 during the regular season as juniors and seniors before losing in the state playoffs. That group has graduated, leaving veteran head coach Mike Cloy with just five returning players with significant varsity experience. After going 9-1 and 8-2 the last two years, Johns Creek is most definitely in rebuilding mode this season. “It will be a challenge,” Cloy says in something of an understatement. “We had 25 seniors and a whole lot of them played four years.” The first position Cloy needs to fill is quarterback, where Skye Overton has played since his freshman season. Austin Pack, who played as a back-up running back last season, has never played quarterback, and will compete with junior Kevin Nalecz. Cloy says Pack “is a natural athlete, like Skye. He can make things happen. Kevin has more experience at the position.” The Gladiators will remain in their “power gun” formation, with one of the team’s primary weapons back this season. Chase Solomon returns after rushing for 1000 yards and 12 touchdowns, and is both a tough inside runner and a breakaway threat.

It will be a challenge. We had 25 seniors and a whole lot of them played four years.” Mike Cloy Johns Creek Galadiators Head Coach

Solomon will shoulder a larger part of the offensive load, as he is one of just a handful of returning starters. Turner Fortin, who played a lot at fullback, is also back, along with Cody Hardage, part of what will be a tall, physical group of receivers. Hardage (6-5, 220) and Todd Blackwell (6-2, 230) will be part of the team’s large group of two-way players, with the two also starting at defensive end. Austin Wedding, a back-up last season, will also move into a more active role at receiver. Cloy hopes the team’s size at the receiver positions “will be to our advantage” both in the passing and running game. The line will be all new for the Gladiators, with Cloy pointing to it and the quarterback position as the big questions for the Johns Creek offense. Things are a little more settled up front on defense, with Hardage and Devin How-

ALIZABETH HAGGERTY/Staff

Chase Solomon (7) is Johns Creek's top returning player and one of the area's best. ard back in the line. Howard will also help on offense, but his main duties will be to anchor the defensive front. Chase Campbell gives the team a third player whose two main positions are defensive end and wide receiver. Fortin is back at inside linebacker, giving the Gladiators some experience at a key position. The Gladiators have been strong in the defensive second-

ary the past two seasons, but will have to replace all of last year’s regulars. That will be the main challenge for defensive coordinator Bill Waters, one of the state’s most respected defensive coaches. Johns Creek also has to replace an excellent kicking/punting duo, adding to the concerns of Cloy and his coaching staff going into the season. “Every year is a different

year with different challenges and opportunities,” Cloy says. “The question this year is what we can do with what we have.” Cloy, a successful head coach at North Springs in the 1980s, started the programs at Centennial and Johns Creek and both were in the playoffs in short order. Given the situation facing this season’s team, it will almost be like starting over again for Cloy and his staff.

Patriots have new coach, playoff prospects Team sports talented players at different spots By MIKE BLUM JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — The Mount Pisgah Christian Patriots closed out the 2012 season with what would have been a stunning upset, falling to topseeded Athens Academy 17-13 in the first round of the state Class A private school playoffs. The Patriots were the lowest seeded team of the 16 in the playoffs and Athens Academy was No.1. But the Spartans narrowly escaped on their home field against a team that had won only one road game all season. Mount Pisgah will look to use that strong playoff showing

as a springboard to a successful 2013 season, which will be the Patriots first under new head coach Mike Forester. Doug Dixon, the team’s head coach the past six seasons, stepped down after guiding the Patriots to the playoffs for the first time with a 6-4 regular season record. He has been replaced by Forester, the team’s defensive coordinator

last year. Forester, who came to Mount Pisgah after a long coaching career in Alabama, says he expects the Patriots “to have a good year. We didn’t lose a lot in terms of numbers, but all of them were big contributors.” The Patriots return a sizeable portion of their offense, beginning with quarterback Aaron Winchester and receivers Oz Dixon and Tommy Pease. Just a junior, Winchester gives the Patriots a steady hand at a key position, and will lead what should be an effective passing attack with some quality receivers “We have some skill guys at wide receiver who can run and catch,” Forester says. “We have the capability of scoring some points.” Transfer Browning Dunn and Ian Ainsworth, who

did not play last season, could also help at receiver. Patrick Messinger moves from defense to running back and will divide time with Justin Gilvin. The Patriots graduated top offensive lineman Flint Geier, and return center Jimmy Campbell and Jack Kenyon. Defensive standout Shingi Chigwere will also help out in limited duty on offense. The 255-pound Chigwere will anchor Mount Pisgah’s defensive line, with fellow junior John O’Connor the key returnee at linebacker. Nicky Piccapietra and Justin Cowart also return in the Patriots’ 4-4 alignment, with newcomer J.R. Cendoya looking to make an impact as a sophomore. Blake Smith will join Chigwere on the defensive interior, with offensive starters Kenyon

and Peace on the outside. “I feel good about our defensive front,” says Forester, who like almost all Class A coaches has concerns about too many players going both ways. “We’re looking for some young guys to step up.” Free safety Jacob Delk, who led the team with six interceptions, returns at free safety, with Messinger also returning at safety along with Dixon at corner. Ainsworth is projected as the other starter at corner. Forester believes the Patriots should be “able to compete” for a post-season berth, with the team’s playoff showing against Athens Academy a reason for his optimism. “That was huge,” he says. “And the biggest thing is that we did it on the road.”

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Paladins welcome veteran head coach Morrell hoping to reverse recent slide By MIKE BLUM ROSWELL, Ga. – The Fellowship Christian Paladins begin the 2013 football season with a new head coach, as Al Morrell takes over for Hunter Chadwick. Morrell comes to Fellowship from Creekview in Cherokee County, where he started the football program and went 48-25 as head coach in seven seasons. The last time the Paladins had a veteran coach similar to Morrell was in 2007, when they went 11-2 under Bob Lord and reached the quarterfinals of the State Class A playoffs. Since then, Fellowship’s best season was a 5-5 mark in 2011, the second of Chad-

wick’s seasons there as head coach. Morrell, who also has a long and successful track record as an assistant coach at metro Atlanta schools, takes over a program that has struggled in recent years, largely due to lack of numbers. This season is not expected to be appreciably different at FCS, which went 2-8 in 2012, the third time in four seasons the Paladins have finished with that record. The Paladins return a handful of starters on offense, led by 6-4 quarterback Hunter Bryant, who is adapting to Morrell’s new pro-style offensive system, which will look to achieve a run-pass balance. Fullback Travis Kenny and

2012 wingbacks Jack Wise and Taylor Cookston, round out the backfield, with Wise and Cookston projected to rotate at tailback. James Wilson is competing with Jeremy Wilson at fullback. Alex Edmond and Ian Berryman are among a group vying for playing time at wide receiver, with Connor Nelson back at tight end. The lone returning lineman is center Clay Hostetter, with most of the rest of the line likely to consist of sophomores, some of whom saw some playing time at the varsity level as

freshmen. Morrell says the Paladins “are not very big” in the defensive line. Hostetter will be among the Fellowship players seeing extensive action on offense and defense, with Jake Wiley and sophomores Jake Baker and Jeremy Wilson also among the contenders for starting roles. Kenny and Wilson will play inside linebacker in Morrell’s 4-4 alignment, with Will Haigler and Nelson on the outside. The secondary was a work in progress at the outset of pre-season practice, with Berryman and Max Edmonds among the contenders at corner and Cookston at safety. Because of the limited number of players compared to what he is used to, Morrell says “you can never get

anything close to Friday night in practice. The young players are the scout team and it’s a challenge to get prepared.” Despite the challenges, Morrell says he is “excited” to take the head coaching position at FCS. “I have no complaints. These are good kids and good coaches and I’m just happy to be here. The kids have responded well.” As with all coaches new to Class A football, Morrell is discovering how critical good health is for his core players, most of whom will play extensively on offense and defense. “Coming from Creekview, if a starter goes down, you have somebody behind him. Here, a lot of these kids are not going to come off the field, and one bad injury can turn your season around.”

Lambert Longhorns plan to focus on defense By SHAUYAN SAKI shauyan@northfulton.com SUWANEE, Ga.––Coach Sid Maxwell of the Lambert Longhorns knows how to rebuild a program from scratch. This is the second time Maxwell has built a football program; he was

Sequoia’s first head coach as well as Lambert’s first head coach. Maxwell’s plan for success is balance on both sides of the ball: moving the chains on offense and an aggressive defense that keeps the opponents off the field. “I have been in the business for

SHAUYAN SAKI/staff

many years,” Maxwell said, “I believe in a strong defense and an offense that can move the chains and run the clock out in any way possible, we access every matchup and use it to our advantage.” The team looks forward to bounce back after a 5-5 record in 2012. Jordyn Jean-Felix, a senior safety, said the team is in a good place this year. “We have 8 starters returning on Defense,” said Jean-Felix “our unit is the best in the county and if any receiver thinks they can burn me in coverage they are dead wrong we have a solid defensive backfield.” The offensive line is also a position of strength for the Longhorns in 2013. Senior center Kevo Yeremian said the line will be tough to beat this season. “We are going to be a young line, but we are better equipped to operate our new offense,” said Yeremian. “We will operate out of the spread and this will help us because our quarterback will be more involved and it will enhance our chemistry with the line and allow us to mesh together and control the game.” Jake Chickowski, senior guard and defensive tackle, said he is looking

forward to leave his mark on both lines this fall. “I’m glad I get to play on both sides of the ball,” said Chickowski. “We return all four starters on the D-line and our offensive line is meshing well playing both sides allows me to stay in shape and play both positions effectively.” Senior tight end and defensive end Chris Lay, one of the most celebrated players on the Longhorn’s roster has given a verbal commitment to Auburn University this year and will graduate early in December to join his new team. Lay said the commitment is a blessing because he can focus on the present. “My commitment has allowed me to take the stress off the season for me,” said Lay. “I found my new home at Auburn and now I can fully concentrate on the success of Lambert this fall, I don’t have to worry about where I will be going.” Lay also said he plans to help his team succeed on both sides of the ball. “I will be a tight end at the next level, but I am really excited about playing defensive end too,” said Lay “I believe I can do really well and I want to help my school win football games.” For more information, visit www. lambertfootball.com.

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Blessed Trinity aims for playoff repeat Titans have to replace talented senior class By MIKE BLUM ROSWELL, Ga. – Coming off the best football season in the school’s history, the Blessed Trinity Titans face the challenge of having to replace a deep and talented senior class from last year’s squad that reached the second round of the state Class AAA playoffs. BT went 9-3, tying St. Pius for first in Region 6-AAA and winning its state playoff opener decisively before a heartbreaking loss at Cartersville in the next round. Titans coach Tim McFarlin, who guided Roswell to a share of a state title in 2006, recognizes the task he and his team face in a six-team region with five strong contenders for four playoff spots. “I’m optimistic every year but we have to replace 17 starting positions,” McFarlin said. “We’ve got to play great football to have a shot at the playoffs.” The Titans will have to replace standouts at quarterback, fullback, wide receiver and tight

ALIZABETH HAGGERTY/Staff

Blessed Trinity’s Carter McManes (4) runs to catch the pass. end on offense, as well as three of five starters in the line. The defense has some talent back at linebacker and in the secondary, but the entire line will be new this season. Leading the way offensively is tailback Milton Shelton, who rushed for almost 900 yards and nine touchdowns as a freshman. After being surrounded by seniors, Shelton now becomes the focus of the offense, with McFarlin looking to find some other weapons to take the pressure off the talented sophomore. “We’re going to hand the ball to him 25 or 30 times a game,” McFarlin points out. “Milton has got to stay

healthy.” The Titans return two linemen – three-year starting center David Mitchler and tackle Austin Werkheiser. McFarlin says there are “six or seven players competing for the other three spots and I think we’ll be a little bigger and stronger in the offensive line than we were.” The big offensive concern for McFarlin is replacing quarterback Spencer McManes, who will play football at the Naval Academy and provided the Titans with a dangerous running and passing threat. Sophomore Conor Davis, described by McFarlin as having “a great arm.” is the likely starter, with senior

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Chris Keegan, who is more an option-style quarterback, one of the defensive starters at safety. The Titans lost their entire group of skilled receivers, with senior Bobby McQuaid and junior Chris Siebert moving up into starting roles. “I think they’ll be pretty good,” McFarlin says of his projected starters, with the tight end position being manned “by a committee” that includes linebacker Pat Jasinski, the team’s top returning defensive player. The Titans were an outstanding offensive team last season, but as McFarlin points out, “a quarterback that started every game for three years is hard to replace.” BT also has to replace some graduating talent on the defensive front, which McFarlin says “will be a challenge.” As on the offensive line, the Titans have a number of players competing for starting spots, and McFarlin believes he has “a good pool of linemen” to choose from. Blessed Trinity’s defensive front will play in front of a talented and experienced group of linebackers that include Jasinski, the team’s leading tackler last year as a sophomore, and Carter McManes, who was

second in tackles. McManes will also back up Shelton at tailback, with Mitchler also seeing two-way duty at linebacker. “Experience at linebacker will cover some areas of concern,” McFarlin says, but the Titans’ excellent group of linebackers will not have the luxury of playing behind the caliber of talent from last season. Keegan and cornerback Kyle Evans head up the secondary, with Keegan, Mitchler and McManes all getting looks from small colleges and Ivy League programs. McFarlin likes the depth he has on defense, but with so many new starters “chemistry will be a key factor.” The Titans return kicker Marc Nolan, who will also take over the punting duties this season. Blessed Trinity faces a testing non-region schedule, opening with Westminster and Lovett and facing 2012 first round playoff opponent White County in the fourth game. McFarlin says he will use the first four games to evaluate those competing for playing time before the team opens its region schedule at home against playoff contender Woodward Academy.

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Raiders prepared to power their way to success By SHAUYAN SAKI shauyan@northfulton.com

West Forsyth Wolverines Football Facebook Page

The Wolverines have one last camp session for the summer.

Wolverines disciplined to win this year By SHAUYAN SAKI shauyan@northfulton.com CUMMING, Ga.–– Discipline is key for the West Forsyth High School team, getting back to the basics and doing it right. At least that is what Coach Frank Hepler has told his Wolverines. Last year, Hepler led the Wolverines to a 9-1 regular season record and made it to the second round of the state playoffs. Hepler stresses the importance of preparation and makes sure his team is ready for all opponents. “We are fast paced on offense a lot of guys are involved,” said Hepler, “We are balanced, we will hurt you with our quarterback and wide receivers as well as our running game.” Hepler said balance is important on defense too. “We play fast on defense, our best guys are going to be on the field,” said Hepler. “Teams win championships and in order for a team to be good, your defense has to be good as well.” Senior center Andrew Marshall said this team has a chance to do something special this year. “We have a chance to be a greater team,” said Marshall, “We have a lot of good seniors and underclassmen who can contribute to the team.” Marshall also is weighing whether or not to continue his football career in college, he has offers from 11 collegiate programs including Duke University, Navy and Wake Forest University. Jayce Ratliff, senior offensive tackle, said the offensive line is one of the teams

strengths headed to the 2014 season. “We have a solid line with three returning starters and we have strong underclassmen to fill the void,” said Ratliff, “I believe our team is good enough to beat every team in the county.” The defense returns many starters from last year and it aims to stop teams from scoring. Dillon Coats, senior linebacker, was not short of confidence when asked about his team’s chances. “We’re going to be great,” said Coats, “I want to get at least seven sacks, but the most important part about our team is that we are a fast, physical front seven, who loves to play football.” The defense had several underclassmen play and start last year, particularly in the secondary. Junior cornerback, Kyndall Phillips was one of those underclassmen who played and started on the varsity squad. His goals are to assist the defense and do as much as he can for the team to be successful. “I want to help the defense as much as I can,” said Phillips “I know I am only a junior but I know I can contribute and help this team win football games.” The defensive backfield is loaded with talent and Phillips said that he is competing for a starting spot. “We have a solid defensive backfield, and our coaches are going to have a difficult time deciding the starting four,” said Phillips “I am going to keep competing to be one of the starters.” For more information, visit www.westforsythfootball.net.

CUMMING, Ga.–– North Forsyth High School’s football summer program has a clear message: condition, condition, condition. New Head Coach Jason Galt is committed to discipline and if his training philosophy turns out to be correct, the Raiders are in for a big season. Galt said his main reason for conditioning hard is so the other teams cannot beat them off the line of scrimmage. “I love to run the ball on offense,” Galt said, “and the key to running the ball well is a good offensive line, if the linemen and skill players aren’t conditioned properly, you can’t run the ball.” The offensive lineman have definitely been hard at work following their position coach’s conditioning routine and all of them have learned to trust each other and work as a team. Lineman Elijah Framers said he looking forward to the season. “We may not be the biggest offensive line, but we’re very good blockers,” said Framers, “We are going to fire off and hit the defensive line in the mouth. I’m excited to show the fans what we can do this season.” Showing the fans what the team can do has been a tough task in recent years, but with the arrival of Galt the team looks ready to compete. Last year’s team went 3-7 but this year’s team is different said Lineman Jarrett Paige. “Our mindset has changed,” said Paige. “We push through, we’ve bought in we’re ready to win.” Blake Hodges, lineman turned tight end feels that the coaching changes have positively impacted the team. “Coach Galt is more intense,” Hodges said. “He loves to see physicality on the field and as a result, I have really enjoyed coming to practice for the first time in a while.” The attitude seems to have carried over to the defense as well. Cornerback Luke Slaton is not shy when asked to talk about his predictions for the defense. “We are unstoppable, nobody is getting past us,” said Slaton. “There are no first downs allowed here, we don’t give up big plays.” Linebacker Trey Wagner affirmed that the defense and the team improved over the offseason.

Photo by LILY MCGREGOR

North Forsyth defensive back Luke Slaton looks for running room while returning a kick last year against Forsyth Central in Downtown Cumming.

There are no first downs allowed here, we don’t give up big plays.” Luke Slaton North Forsyth Cornerback

“We know how to win,” said Wagner. “Our atmosphere has changed and there is a change in the atmosphere and we are going to take advantage and catch other offenses off guard.” The noticeable difference in the coaching philosophy of Galt is his commitment to run the ball. He stated that he loves to play power football and will only pass when necessary. “There may be some games where we will only pass 5 times a game if we have to,” said Galt. The quarterbacks don’t seem to have any issue with the offensive philosophy. Starting quarterback Harris Roberts is on board with

the new offense and takes no issue to the minimal passing attempts. “As long as we are winning I can care less about passing the ball” said Roberts. “I don’t care about the system; I just want to help the team win, however I can.” Backup quarterback and punter Cody Gottberg affirmed his starters’ commitment to wins and added nothing will change if he has to take snaps under center. “It doesn’t matter who is taking snaps,” said Gottberg. “It will be a smooth transition I trust the line and I know the offense.” For more information, visit www.nfhsraidersfootball.com.

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August 2013 15

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Josh Selembo of the Hornets takes the field during a game last year

Hornets look to improve after two tough seasons New head coach inherits untested roster By MIKE BLUM ROSWELL, Ga. – Between 1981 and 2010, the Roswell Hornets had exactly one losing season in football, going 4-6 in 1994. Roswell went 0-10 and 3-7 in 2011 and ’12, and as a result will begin the 2013 season with a new head coach, the Hornets’ third in the last four years. John Ford, the team’s offensive coordinator last season, takes over as head coach and will be looking to reverse Roswell’s declining fortunes. Not only are the Hornets coming off back-to-back difficult seasons, but they will be trying to improve with a mostly untested squad, as the majority of starters have graduated from last year’s team that was better than its record. “We’re not used to a run like the last two years,” says Ford, who is in his sixth season on the Roswell football staff. After the disappointments of the last two seasons, which included a string of narrow losses that could have gone in the Hornets’ favor, Ford says he is “not focusing on wins and losses.” Instead, Ford is stressing his team do the things necessary “to get better.” For a team that went 3-7, Roswell lost a significant amount of talent, with Ford having to replace starters in just about every area. Offensively, the Hornets return one starting linemen and some backs who saw action in reserve roles. Guard Justin Auer is the lone returning starter in

the line, with Ford pointing out that “six or seven guys are fighting for four spots. We won’t be quite as big as we were last year.” Matt Cory, who completed all three of his pass attempts last year, two for touchdowns, gets first crack at the quarterback job, with James Whitaker also vying for playing time. Ford says both are drop-back style QBs and expects he won’t know what the playing situation will be “until game one.” The Hornets have to replace tailback Andrew Kwateng (1435 yards rushing, 10 TDs), with 2012 backup Mechane Slade playing a key role in a final game upset of Walton. Shakur Jackson also saw varsity action last year. Colin McCauley heads up what will be an all-new group of receivers. The one area where the Hornets are relatively set is the defensive line, where Davonte Hill, Isaiah Hawkins and Chris Bryant all having starting experience. In a mostly passing region, Ford is switching to a 4-2-5 defense. Pat Sheehan moves from end to linebacker, with Scott Simons moving to an outside position from linebacker. Sam Vanede takes over at the other linebacker spot. The secondary was one of Roswell’s strongest areas last season with a talented group of seniors. There is plenty of competition at corner, with Josh Selembo the leading contender at free safety. Ford is shying away from evaluations about his team and the upcoming season, but believes his players have the desire to get the Roswell program headed in a positive direction. ”This is a proud, competitive group of kids. They will do what it takes.”

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Bears still looking to gain experience Second-year team hopes to add to win total By MIKE BLUM MILTON, Ga – The first season of varsity football for Cambridge went pretty much as expected. The Bears managed one win, that coming against a team that hasn’t won a game since 2008. All nine losses came by at least 20 points, with Cambridge allowing 40 or more points in seven of them. Those numbers are typical for teams trying to play a varsity schedule in their first seasons. Northview, which is in the same sub-region as Cambridge, did the same thing and went 0-10 each of its first two seasons. “It was a learning experience,” Cambridge coach Craig Bennett said of his team’s initial season. “The key word is experience. We had so many kids who had not played on Friday nights. The kids had to grow up and gain game experience in a hurry. “We focused on small victories, and from the standpoint of what we wanted to do, it was

a pretty successful year.” The Bears’ first team included just a handful of seniors, meaning that almost all the players who suited up last year will be back, although they did have some players transfer out. Bennett says the Bears return 10 players who started at times on either offense or defense. “But we’re still young. We started a lot of freshmen last year. We’re trying not to harp on our youth, but it’s a tough battle. “The kids did not have that game night environment and had to learn everything.” The most advanced player for the Bears last season was freshman running back J.D. White, who had 800 allpurpose yards and returned three kickoffs for touchdowns. White took a pretty good beating running behind a mostly freshman line, but survived the experience and will again be the team’s main offensive threat. Cambridge graduated its senior quarterback, and has a competitive situation between senior A.J. Copeland and junior Brian Moore. “Both are really good athletes,” Bennett says. “We’re

going to look at both. I’m not a fan of the two-quarterback system, but both will play.” Quarterback is not the only position that will feature competition, with several players battling for playing time at receiver, including sophomores Eric Cizek and Kyle McDougall and junior John Hurst. The young offensive line is a year older, but will still be outmanned by most defenses the Bears face. Drew Dixon is a rare senior among the group. Bennett says his goal is to limit the number of players who will play offense and defense, but expects some to again have to go both ways. Seniors Malik McNeil and Kryshna Tanksley will provide the team with some size in the defensive line, with junior Joshua Kania and Grayson transfer Mark Phillips, a senior, giving the Bears two more upperclassmen up front. “The defensive line is the bright spot of the team,” says Bennett, who also welcomes back linebacker Trey Wolfe, who played well as a freshman. Juniors Brock Nielsen and Charles Mills are also vying for spots at linebacker. The Bears will also have some veterans in the second-

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JD White lead the Bears last year with 800 all-purpose yards. ary, with Christian Johnston, Ryder Deaton and Zeke Gormley all returning. “Right now, the defense is better,” Bennett says. “They’re a little older.” Among the team’s goals this season “is to get another win or two,” Ben-

nett says, with the most likely opportunity coming in the third game against Osborne. The Cambridge coach is also looking to “compete with teams we did not compete very well with last year, but we’re not looking too far ahead.”

Eagles to contend despite loss of standouts Paulk is key for Milton playoff run By MIKE BLUM MILTON, Ga. – Few teams in the state lost as much talent from its 2013 senior class as the Milton Eagles. Among the team’s losses were all-state selections Karl Lawson, Eason Fromayan and Peyton Barber, along with first team North Fulton selections Josh Harris and Cory Helms, all Division 1 signees. “How do you replace players like Barber, Lawson and Fromayan? It’s next to impossible,” Milton coach Howie DeCristofaro offers. The Eagles suffered other losses, with only two starters back on offense. Fortunately for Milton, one of them is Treyvon Paulk, one of the state’s top returning running backs. Last season, Paulk (930 yards, 14 TDs) shared time with Barber (1713 yards rushing, 22 touchdowns). This year Paulk the whole load. “He’s going to have to be huge,” DeCristofaro says of Paulk, who will carry a much larger burden on offense without the assistance of Milton’s standout 2012 line. The lone returnee up front for Milton is Nick Wilson, who will man one of the guard posi-

tions. DeCristofaro says Milton has “nine kids playing for four spots, and that creates a lot of competition. “And it’s the same with the defensive line. We have nobody coming back there.” Experience may be a concern for the Eagles up front, but size won’t be, at least on offense where DeCristofaro expects to have at least three starters in the 275-pound range and another around 245. Milton will also have a new quarterback this season, as 2012 starter A.J. Bush has transferred to Norcross. This will be the fourth school for Bush, who made previous stops at Northview and Chattahoochee before switching to Milton during the 2011 football season. He was not especially effective during his stint as a starter. DeCristofaro says he has three contenders for the job, “and we’ll see who ends up being the guy.” Clint Winter, Austin McCleod and Cody Sant played at the JV level last season, with the Eagles also breaking in a new group of wide receivers and tight ends. Zack Spiezio, a two-year starter at safety, moves to wide receiver, and “has a chance to be pretty good,” DeCristofaro

says. Chad Tolliver will add some speed on the outside and was described by the Milton coach as “a playmaker.” The Eagles have some depth at tailback behind Paulk, with Micco Brisker providing a strong inside threat and transfer Chris Turner also in the picture. Versatile Chris Purpura will be the H back, a hybrid running back/receiver position. “If we can block, we have a chance to be pretty good,” DeCristofaro says of the Milton offense. Defensively, the Eagles have to replace the entire line, including Lawson, a passrushing terror. Michael Collins, who had two sacks in Milton’s playoff loss to South Gwinnett, will be one of the ends, with the other three spots “up for grabs” with seven players in the mix. Milton’s top returning defender is linebacker Quarte Sapp, who could be “phenomenal,” according to his coach. Again, there is competition at the other two spots, with four players vying for playing time. The Eagles will have decent size at the linebacker position along with some speed. “They can all run and they’re all athletes,” DeCristofaro says. Grant Peagler, who is moving from tackle, is among those

photo by AL LEVINE

Milton's Treyvon Paulk, No. 1, shredded the Lassiter defense last year for 122 yards. The Eagles are counting on him for a lot this season. who could help at linebacker. Grey Davis and Chase Polkow are back at safety, with Devyn Wilkins and Lucas Nedza taking over at corner, and Tolliver also in the picture. DeCristofaro is looking for improvement in the secondary, especially in third and long situations. One area that is usually a concern at Milton but won’t be this year is the team’s kicking game. Matt Moskowitz should

be among the state’s top punters, with Jordan Genovese returning as placekicker. Milton will not have the talent level of last year, but the Eagles appear to have ample depth, with enough overall ability to again challenge for a spot in the post-season after last year’s 7-4 showing. “If we have the opportunity to make the playoffs at the end of the season, I’ll be extremely happy,” DeCristofaro observed.

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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL • Sponsored Section

August 2013 17

Bulldogs plan fast paced takeover By SHAUYAN SAKI shauyan@northfulton.com CUMMING, Ga.–– The Central Forsyth Bulldogs had a season they would like to forget last year. However, there is a silver lining on the horizion. New Head Coach, Shane Williamson has a plan to get this team on track. His new no-huddle offense is supposed to breathe new life into this team. “The no-huddle will work,” said Williamson “the two keys to it is everyone must be on the same page and we cannot take plays off.” Another component to the success of the team is getting into football shape. This season football practice has been more intense for the Bulldogs. Tyler Dahlberg, junior left tackle, says the new workouts are more demanding. “Coach Williamson’s workouts have been more demanding we do more reps than before and more conditioning but I feel that I am in better shape and I think all of us are in shape to start the season today.” Dahlberg also said the locker room has reacted positively

My goal is helping the team win football games and I feel we can win at least half our games but I want to go to the playoffs and make a run there.” Victor Peppers Junior Linebacker, Forsyth Central

to the new staff. “This year we have had people step up and take leadership roles in the locker room,” said Dahlberg “We each have a commitment to get better and we are all ready to do our part. I can tell you that no one will get past me, there are no sacks allowed here.” Williamson also tells the team on a regular basis to set goals for themselves and the team, and Victor Peppers, junior linebacker said he wants the team to improve on last season’s record. “I don’t care about my statistics,” said Peppers “My goal

is helping the team win football games and I feel we can win at least half our games but I want to go to the playoffs and make a run there.” Williamson has set even greater short term goals for his team, he wants to win the state championship and he lets his team know it. “Our goal is to win state,” said Williamson “As long as we keep conditioning and take mental reps as well as build on depth I feel we can accomplish this. You have to set great goals in order for you to achieve milestones.” The defense also hopes

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Central players take long snaps during practice. to improve from last year, Williamson feels that most of the setbacks occurred from not practicing the fundamentals. Senior outside linebacker Jack Longmore feels that the defense is much improved from last year. “We are doing much better but we are still a work in progress,” said Longmore, “I think that we have many players who will step up and make a

SHAUYAN SAKI/staff

difference this year and we will win more games.” Linebacker and wide receiver AJ Zlatic said the team is becoming closer and has a message for the students and fans. “We are going to live up to our potential this year,” said Zlatic “Everyone has bought in and we want our school to come to games and support us, they should have Bulldog Pride.”

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Mansell Rd.

Exit 8

Hw y. 9

Andretti’s

GA 400

Yummy House

Holcomb Bridge Rd.

Exit 7B

11060 Alpharetta Hwy, Suite 130, Roswell, GA 30076 www.yummyhouseroswell.com

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18 August 2013

Sponsored Section • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

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2013 Team schedules for North Fulton and Forsyth County LAMBERT 6-AAAAAA 2012 record: 5-5

CENTRAL FORSYTH

7-AAAAA, Div. B 2012 record: 2-8

WEST FORSYTH

SOUTH FORSYTH

NORTH FORSYTH

6-AAAAAA 2012 record: 10-2

6-AAAAAA 2012 record: 4-6

6-AAAAAA 2012 record: 3-7

DATE

OPPONENT

DATE

OPPONENT

DATE

OPPONENT

DATE

OPPONENT

DATE

OPPONENT

Aug. 30

at North Forsyth

Aug. 30

Etowah

Aug. 30

Forsyth Central

Aug. 30

at Northview

Aug. 29

Gainesville

Sept. 6

South Forsyth

Sept. 6

at Roswell

Sept. 6

Dawson County

Sept. 6

at Forsyth Central

Sept. 6

at Flowery Branch

Sept. 13 at Dawson County

Sept. 13 Northview

Sept. 13 at Cherokee

Sept. 13 Cambrdge

Sept. 13 at Starrs Mill

Sept. 20 at Sprayberry

Sept. 20 at South Forsyth

Sept. 20 at Chattahoochee

Sept. 20 Lambert

Sept. 20 Alpharetta

Oct. 4

North Springs

Sept. 27 at North Forsyth

Sept. 27 Lambert

Sept. 27 at Alpharetta

Sept. 27 at Centennial

Oct. 11

at Cambridge

Oct. 11

Centennial

Oct. 11

Alpharetta

Oct. 11

at Chattahoochee

Oct. 11

at Johns Creek

Oct. 18

Sequoyah

Oct. 18

Johns Creek

Oct. 18

at West Forsyth

Oct. 18

Centennial

Oct. 18

North Forsyth

Oct. 25

Creekview

Oct. 25

at Alpharetta

Oct. 25

Centennial

Oct. 25

Johns Creek

Oct. 25

Chattahoochee

Nov. 1

at Northview

Nov. 1

Chattahoochee

Nov. 1

at Johns Creek

Nov. 1

West Forsyth

Nov. 1

at South Forsyth

Nov. 8

(region cross-over)

Nov. 8

at West Forsyth

Nov. 8

South Forsyth

Nov. 8

at North Forsyth

Nov. 8

Lambert

ALPHARETTA 6-AAAAAA 2012 record: 7-4

CENTENNIAL 6-AAAAAA 2012 record: 3-7

CAMBRIDGE 7-AAAAA, Div. B

JOHNS CREEK

CHATTAHOOCHEE

6-AAAAAA 2012 record: 7-4

6-AAAAAA 2012 record: 8-3

DATE

OPPONENT

DATE

OPPONENT

DATE

OPPONENT

DATE

OPPONENT

DATE

OPPONENT

Aug. 30

at Milton

Aug. 30

at Riverwood

Aug. 30

Roswell

Aug, 24

Kell (Georgia Dome)

Aug. 23

Woodstock

Sept. 6

Harrison

Sept. 13 at Soutgh Forsyth

Sept. 6

at Etowah

Aug, 30

at Forest Park

Sept. 6

Milton

Sept. 13 Lovejoy

Sept. 20 at Osborne

Sept. 13 Milton

Sept. 13

Douglas County

Sept. 13 at Roswell

Sept. 20 West Forsyth

Sept. 27 Pope

Sept. 20 Johns Creek

Sept. 20 North Forsyth

Sept. 20 at Centennial

Sept. 27 South Forsyth

Oct. 4

at Northview

Sept. 27 West Forsyth

Sept. 27 at Johns Creek

Sept, 27 Chattahoochee

Oct. 11

North Forsyth

Oct. 11

Forsyth Central

Oct. 11

at Lambert

Oct. 11

South Forsyth

Oct. 11

West Forsyth

Oct. 18

Chattahoochee

Oct. 18

Creekview

Oct. 18

at South Forsyth

Oct. 18

Alpharetta

Oct. 18

at Lambert

Oct. 25

Lambert

Oct. 25

at North Springs

Oct. 25

at North Forsyth

Oct. 25

at West Forsyth

Oct. 25

at South Forsyth

Nov. 1

at Centennial

Nov. 1

Sequoyah

Nov. 1

Alpharetta

Nov. 1

at Lambert

Nov. 1

North Forsyth

Nov. 8

Johns Creek

Nov. 8

(region cross-over)

Nov. 8

at Chattahoochee

Nov. 8

Centennial

Nov. 8

at Alpharetta

MILTON 5-AAAAAA 2012 record: 7-4

NORTHVIEW 7-AAAAA, Div. B 2012 record: 3-7

FELLOWSHIP CHRISTIAN

ROSWELL 5-AAAAAA 2012 record: 3-7

KING’S RIDGE CHRISTIAN

6-A, Div. B 2012 record: 5-5

6-A Div. B 2012 record: 2-8

DATE

OPPONENT

DATE

OPPONENT

DATE

OPPONENT

DATE

OPPONENT

DATE

OPPONENT

Aug. 30

Alpharetta

Aug. 30

South Forsyth

Aug. 30

at Centennial

Aug. 30

Lakeview

Aug. 30

Pinecrest

Sept. 6

at Johns Creek

Sept. 13 at Lambert

Sept. 6

Lambert

Sept. 6

at Towns County

Sept. 6

St. Francis

Sept. 13 at Centennial

Sept. 20 at Pope

Sept. 13 Johns Creek

Sept. 13

at Oglethorpe County

Sept. 13 at Pace Academy

Sept. 20 at Roswell

Sept. 27 Riverwood

Sept. 20 Milton

Sept. 20

at Christian Heritage

Sept. 20 at Darlington

Sept. 27 Wheeler

Oct. 4

Cambridge

Sept. 27 at Etowah

Oct. 4

Whitefield Academy

Oct. 4

at Mount Paran

Oct. 4

Etowah

Oct. 11

at Creekview

Oct. 4

at Wheeler

Oct. 11

at Walker

Oct. 11

Mount Pisgah

Oct. 18

at Lassiter

Oct. 18

North Springs

Oct. 18

Woodstock

Oct. 18

Mount Paran

Oct. 18

at Walker

Oct. 25

Walton

Oct. 25

at Sequoah

Oct. 25

at Cherokee

Oct. 25

King’s Ridge

Oct. 25

at Fellowship

Nov. 1

Cherokee

Nov. 1

Forsyth Central

Nov. 1

Lassiter

Nov. 1

at Mount Pisgah

Nov. 1

Whitefield Academy

Nov. 8

at Woodstock

Nov. 8

(region cross-over)

Nov. 8

at Walton

Nov. 8

(region cross-over)

Nov. 8

(region cross-over)

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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL • Sponsored Section

August 2013 19

Titans hope to overcome defensive problems QB Pearson returns to spark productive offense By MIKE BLUM JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — As the Northview Titans have discovered the past two seasons, even the best of offenses can’t compensate for a shaky defense. The Titans posted their second straight 3-7 record in 2012, averaging 38 points per game, with only one opponent holding them to less than 27 points. Unfortunately for the Titans, their defense yielded 41 points per contest, which included a shutout of North Springs, a team that hasn’t won a game in years. To rectify the situation, Northview head coach Chad Davenport has brought in former Atlanta Falcons’ lineman Dan Owens, who has been the 8th grade coach in the Northview program, as defensive coordinator. Davenport says Owens has already made an impact, with the numbers of players in the football program increasing. Numbers have been a consistent problem for the Titans, who have never posted a winning record since beginning varsity football in 2002 “The numbers are up,” says Davenport. “We’re not exactly bursting at the seams, but we’re on a lot better footing than we were.” The concerns about numbers have not prevented the Titans from putting up some impressive stats on the offensive side of the ball the past

two years. The defense has been another matter entirely. “The biggest thing for us is to find a way to get good on defense,” says Davenport, who is hopeful that Owens can solve at least some of the problems. The Titans return nine starters from last season on defense, led by linebacker Austin Antwine, the team’s leading tackler. Joseph Macrina, Connor Redmond and Conner Segraves are also back at linebacker, with Connor Owens moving from linebacker to defensive end. Keewan Williams has returned to the team after not playing last season and will help a defensive front Davenport says is “not big but is mobile. Among those returning is Max Ovrick, who started last year. “We will have just a few starters who have not played on Friday nights before, and that should help a little bit,” Davenport offers. Safety Clay French keys a secondary that also returns Matt Ferguson at corner, with Isaac Hart expected to move into a more prominent role at the other corner. In a region where the option and wing-T are the offenses of choice, Davenport is hoping the Titans can improve against the run, and give his offense a chance to pull some games out. Northview loses all-purpose back Terence Upshaw, who accounted for 1500 yards and 28 touchdowns last year, but has D.J. Pearson, the area’s top returning quarterback. Pearson passed for 1905 yards and 14 TDs as s sophomore, and is a comparable style play-

The biggest thing for us is to find a way to get good on defense.” Chad Davenport Northview Titans Head Coach

er to Alpharetta’s Josh Dobbs, now a freshman at Tennessee. The Titans should have plenty of targets for Pearson to throw to, including third-year starter Matt Bionditch. Segraves, who will be one of the team’s few two-way players, also returns, with Malik Harris and Ricci Nuckles, both transfers from Cambridge, also expected to help. Nathan Phillips moves from receiver to take over for Upshaw in the backfield, and played well in the Spring, Davenport said. Phillips will not be the breakaway threat Upshaw was, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as Davenport is looking for more sustained drives to keep his defense off the field as much as possible. “We were one of the better offenses around last season, but we could not stop anybody,” says Davenport. “It was

Photo by Kent McCorkle/KentsFotos.com

Austin Antwine, 40, Linebacker for Northview, looks to make a tackle. painful.” Davenport also has some concerns about the Titans’ kicking game, which has encountered some problems since last season ended.

2013 Team schedules (continued): MOUNT PISGAH CHRISTIAN

ST. FRANCIS 2012 record: 4-6

6-A, Div. B 2012 record: 6-5

BLESSED TRINITY 6-AAA 2012 record: 9-3

PINECREST ACADEMY

DATE

OPPONENT

DATE

OPPONENT

DATE

OPPONENT

DATE

OPPONENT

Aug. 23

at Mt. Vernon Presbyterian

Aug. 23

at Prince Avenue Christian

Aug. 30

at King’s Ridge

Aug. 23

at Westminster

Sept. 6

at Model

Aug. 30

Mt. Vernon Presbyterian

Sept. 6

at Cross Keys

Aug. 30

Lovett

Sept. 13 Our Lady of Mercy

Sept. 6

at King’s Ridge

Sept. 13

Mt. Vernon Presbyterian

Sept. 6

at Hart County

Sept. 27

at SW Atlanta Christian

Sept. 13 Whitefield Academy

Sept. 20

at Mt. Vernon Presbyterian

Sept. 20 White County

Oct. 4

Walker

Sept. 20 Hebron Christian

Sept. 27 Hebron Christian

Sept. 27 Woodward Academy

Oct. 11

at King’s Ridge

Oct. 4

at Cross Keys

Oct. 11

at Athens Academy

Oct. 11

at Decatur

Oct. 18

Whitefield Academy

Oct. 11

at Baconton Charter

Oct. 18

at George Walton

Oct. 18

Towers

Oct. 25

at Mount Paran

Oct. 18

at Lakeview

Oct. 25

Athens Christian

Oct. 25

at McNair

Nov. 1

Fellowship

Oct. 25

Towns County

Nov. 1

at Prince Avenue

Nov. 1

St. Pius

Nov. 8

(region cross-over)

Nov. 1

North Cobb Christian

Nov. 8

Commerce

Nov. 8

at Cedar Grove

But the main focus is on defensive improvement, which will determine whether the Titans suffer through another losing season or make a run at a first ever playoff berth.

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20 August 2013

Sponsored Section • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

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High School Football Preview 2013