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2018

IN THE

GAME

Presented by:

AUG/SEPT 2018

BACK TO FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

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Albany / 2609 Ledo Rd. Albany, GA 31707 / 229.430.8080 716 Philema Rd. / 229.439.4030 Tifton / 2nd St W. Tifton, GA 31794 / 229.386.2265 Moultrie / 621 N. Veterans Pkwy, Moultrie, GA 31788 / 229.985.1380 Sylvester / 601 N. Main St. Sylvester, GA 31791 / 229.776.7641 Quitman / 602 E Screven St. Quitman, GA 31643 / 229.263.7538 Valdosta / 2910 N. Ashley St. N. Valdosta, GA 31602 / 229.242.2037 3774 Old U.S. 41 N / 229.241.9900

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ARE YOU In?

South Georgia

In the Game Stay focused. Do what needs to be done. Make the decision every day to be the best. Get In the Game. Stay In the Game. Live In the Game.

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4 North Carter Street Lakeland, Georgia 31635 (229) 482-3585

978 Valdosta Highway Homerville, Georgia 31634 (912) 487-1200

202 W. Washington Ave. Nashville, Georgia 31639 (229) 686-9451

1201 S. Patterson Street Valdosta, Georgia 31603 (229) 244-3585

3303 Inner Perimeter Road Valdosta, Georgia 31605 (229) 244-3585

www.fmb.net

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Member FDIC


From the Publisher Teams across the NFL and NCAA are gearing up for their upcoming campaigns, but in South Georgia, high school football reigns as king. The players, coaches, bands, cheerleaders, and the entire atmosphere are all embraced by the warm glow of those Friday night lights. These South Georgia spectacles are a unique experience in the greater portrait of the national scene, and we eagerly anticipate the reunion. We look forward to the rivalry games, the region battles, and champions defending their titles. We compiled concise previews for all of our South Georgia and Columbus Valley teams, as well as your favorite NFL and NCAA teams. We take a statistical approach to the 2017 season, portraying the past and projecting the future. We highlight some of the top players from South Georgia in our Player Profiles and get you up-to-date on the coaching changes in our area. We got the chance to talk to Mark Davis III, a defensive end from Thomasville High School who is driven to succeed by his dedicated to the sport and his team. Head coach Zach Grage said, “You can tell he (Davis) strives for perfection in everything he does, from the weight room to the practice field to the film room, and it shows up on Friday nights.” These stories and more pack the pages of this magazine. However, it isn’t just about the athletic abilities and achievements of these teams and players; while their talents may bring them to the center of conversation, it is their character, work ethic, support systems, and drive that will make them successful in life. On the field, in the classroom, around the community, being In the Game isn’t being in our magazine. It’s about living In the Game. We are looking for people who understand what it means to passionately persevere, inspire, and strive for greatness in all areas of life. In short, we are looking for people who understand what it means to BE In the Game. So the question is: ARE YOU IN? Our mission is simple: to inspire your inner athlete toward the passionate pursuit of excellence, on and off the field. So, if you know of a player, coach, or fan deserving of recognition, head to www.itgnext.com and officially nominate that story! We thank you for your continued support of your local athletic programs and In the Game. Follow us on social media @itgnext and visit us at www.itgnext.com to #StayInTheGame!

In the Game Apparel

South Georgia Team Publisher Mark Dykes Editor Anna Limoges Magazine Director Anna Limoges Graphics Mandy Douthit Tony Coates LaDarius Dennison Cover Photography Aaron Musgrove Feature Photography Micki Krzynski` Micki K. Photography Aaron Musgrove Eric Vinson Feature Writers Beth Welch Phil Jones Hillary Griffin Joshua Miller Gerald Thomas III Copy Editors Anna Limoges Beth Welch Advertising/Marketing Mark Dykes mark@itgnext.com Digital Manager Mandy Douthit

@ITGNext

Tell us what you thought about the June/July issue of In the Game! info@itgnext.com

#23 James Eunice Tee

Go to

ITG Football T-Shirt

Friday Night Football Shirt

www.itgnext.com to Get In the Game today!

In the Game is published bi-monthly. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in part or in full without written consent from the publisher. Dykes Media Group LLC makes no representation or warranty of any kind for accuracy of content. All advertisements are assumed by the publisher to be correct. Copyright 2018 Dykes Media Group LLC. All rights reserved. ISSN 1945-1458.

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In This Issue Baconton Charter Blazers 83 Colquitt Co. Packers 38 Lowndes Vikings 41 Tift Co. Blue Devils 43

Clinch Co. Panthers 84 Cario Syrupmakers 65

Irwin Co. Indians 87

Perry Panthers 66

Lanier Co. Bulldogs 88

Georgia Christian Generals 105

Columbus Valley

Miller Co. Pirates 89 Coffee Co. Trojans 46 Houston Co. Bears 49 Lee Co. Trojans 50

Cook Hornets 69 Crisp Co. Cougars 71 Worth Rams 72

Northside (WR) Eagles 53

Berrien Co. Rebels 74 Brooks Co. Trojans 77

Thomas Co. Central Yellow Jackets 61 Warner Robins Demons 62 Veterans Warhawks 63

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Fitzgerald Purple Hurricane 79 Thomasville Bulldogs 80

Harris Co. Tigers 106

Pelham Hornets 93 Turner Co. Rebels 94

Brookwood Warriors 95

Valdosta Wildcats 55

Bainbridge Bearcats 56

Mitchell Co. Eagles 90

Deerfield-Windsor Knights 96 Westfield Hornets 98 Tiftarea Panthers 99 Valwood Valients 101 Westwood Wildcats 102

C.W. Carver Tigers 106 Columbus Blue Devils 107 Hardaway Hawks 107 Northside Patriots 108 Shaw Raiders 108

Kendrick Cherokees 109


Jordan Red Jackets 109 Spencer Greenwave 110

Football Extras South Georgia’s Top Football Players 16 Class of 2019 Top Recruits 32 Tailgating 35

Be Inspired Progress Driven by Dedication

Brookstone Cougars 110

Coaching Changes 114

Chattahoochee Panthers 111

NFL

From Camp to the School, FCA Is Ready 91

Atlanta Falcons 44

Health & Fitness

Marion Co. Eagles 111 St. Anne-Pacelli Vikings 112

Jacksonville Jaguars 45

NCAA Calvary Christian Knights 112

Marc Davis III, Thomasville 36

Understanding and Preventing Sudden Cardiac Death in Children and Adolescents 85

University of Georgia 52 Georgia Tech 67 Florida State University 76

Central Red Devils 113 Smith Station Panthers 113

University of Florida 81 Valdosta State University 82 Albany State University 103 Georgia Southern University 104

Glenwood Gators 114 In The Game | 11


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Contributors

Mark Dykes

Mandy Douthit

Anna Limoges

Beth Welch

Chief Executive Officer

Creative director

Editor

Columbus Area Editor

Founder Mark Dykes is the entrepreneur and mastermind behind the In the Game vision. Back in 2007, Mark set out to create a company that captured the passion, intensity, and unrivaled commitment toward high school athletics in the South Georgia area. Today, that vision has become a reality, and he continues to be the leading influence in what lies ahead for In the Game, despite his annual prediction that UGA will win the national championship.

As a Pine Mountain, Georgia, native, Mandy’s move to Valdosta has brought enhanced artistry and intricacy to the ITG design team. The University of West Georgia alum graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in art with a concentration in graphic design. Her artistic nature has allowed her to use graphic design to win national and international design competitions, all of which are meant to serve as diversions and coping mechanisms for Alabama’s loss to Auburn.

After four years as an interdisciplinary studies major at Valdosta State University and nearly two years as an ITG intern, Anna has remained a member of the team as an editor. Since her start in early 2016, she has devoted her editorial eye toward serving as one of the first and last lines of defense against errors within these pages. More importantly, while her Facebook page says that she likes the Saints, there is fortunately no other sign of such irrational fandom.

Beth has been a part of the ITG team since 2009 when she began writing for the Columbus Valley edition of In the Game. Now, she heads up all of the Chattahoochee Valley content as Area Editor. Having children who participated in sports in local high schools and later were collegiate athletes, Beth has been involved in athletics in the area for many years, making her the perfect fit for her current role.

Felicia Cerna

Susannah Parmenter

Phil Jones

Hillary Griffin

Marketing Associate

NF Area Coordinator

Contributing Writer

Contributing Writer

Originally from Washington, Felicia has traded in cold weather for the Georgia heat. A former track and field athlete at the University of Oregon, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Economics. Her analytical skills combined with her athletic knowledge ensure ITG is properly represented through social media and the ambassadors program. As a Patriots fan, she knows when you rise up, you have to stay up... the entire game.

Susannah Parmenter is a Florida transplant originally from California. After graduating from California State University, Fullerton with a broadcast journalism degree, she continued her education with a meteorology degree from Florida State. Now as part of In the Game, she combines her journalism and broadcast skills to highlight the athletes who inspire and motivate us to release our inner champions.

Phil Jones began lending his voice to In the Game in 2017. He serves as a radio station manager and host of two daily radio shows: “The Phil Jones Show” on WJHC Talk 107.4 and “The Afternoon Sports Drive” on WJEM AM-FM and on WJHC FM. Jones is a 20year veteran of the newspaper business, serving as manager of marketing and distribution for newspapers in Tifton, Albany, and Atlanta. He was recognized by the Georgia Press Association as “Georgia’s Top Newspaper Circulator” in 2003.

Hillary is a graduate of Valdosta State University. She started working with In the Game in the spring of 2017 as a contributing writer. She enjoys writing and is glad that she found a home in ITG. She has always had a gift of witty words, which is unusual for a die-hard Georgia Bulldog fan.

Micki Krzynski

Aaron Musgrove

Eric Vinson

Dezmond Kimbrough

Contributing Photographer

Contributing Photographer

Contributing Photographer

Photography Intern

When it comes to loyalty to In the Game, it is hard to top Micki. Since the very beginning of In the Game, Micki has provided strong, creative, and highly professional photos. Consequently, Micki and her son/assistant, Jake, have become our go-to photo duo. With enough talent, equipment, and experience to make her dangerous, she continues to push ITG’s photography forward.

Originally from Live Oak, Florida, Aaron found his home as a multitalented photographer and graphic designer after moving to Valdosta in 2007. As the lead graphic designer at Colquitt Regional Medical Center since 2010, Aaron has found his passion in corporate graphic design and commercial photography, but he also loves capturing the unique dynamics of sports with ITG. Fortunately, his notable lack of any sports career that lasted more than a single day does not impact his sports photography.

Eric Vinson is a native of Lowndes County and a graduate of Valdosta High School. He recently got his Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from Valdosta State University in Mass Media. Eric loves taking photos, watching sports, and producing music. His favorite sports team is the Cowgirls... We mean the Dallas Cowboys.

Dezmond was born in Columbus, Georgia, but raised in both Columbus and Atlanta throughout his life. He has always loved the creative side of life, from audio arts to visual, with photography being his connecting point. Moving around more than most when young contributed to his photography, allowing him to observe the different perspectives through the lens. Put your bet on him; he won’t let you down like his Falcons do him.

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What to look forward to:

Joshua Miller

Journalism Intern

Journalist Intern

Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Gerald is now a mass media major at Valdosta State University. He started working for In the Game in the Spring of 2018 to offer his writing flair and to generate exciting sports content. Gerald enjoys the writing aspect of mass media, whether it be journalism or screen writing. He is always looking to grow and improve his craft. Gerald has grown to rely on the future, as his favorite team, the Atlanta Falcons, disappoints him every season.

Joshua was born and raised in Gwinnett County and joined ITG in the fall of 2017. Currently a junior mass media major at Valdosta State, Joshua is aiming toward a career as a sports television personality. Although he’s still learning new techniques in sports journalism, his admiration and knowledge of a variety of sports is easily recognized. As a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan, he has learned to remain optimistic towards his goals despite the inevitable obstacles in the way.

Bobby Hessler Videographer

Christian Faulkner

Bobby Hessler is a Jacksonville based director, cinematographer, and editor. He has a wide range of experience from working on feature film sets, to directing commercials for television, to writing and producing short films. His passion for film inspires a focus on visual storytelling as a craft. Along with his work at In the Game, Bobby operates a freelance video production company and is graduating from UNF in December with a degree in multimedia production.

Graduating from Berrien County in May 2017 and recently finishing his first year as a film and television major at SCAD, Christian joined our intern team at the beginning of June and has already shown himself to be a useful asset with ITG. Christian has played sports since the age of 3 and wants to stay around sports as much as possible. During his free time he loves to play soccer and watch the University of Georgia play football, unless they are playing Alabama.

October - November 2018 Basketball Preseason Do you love our football preseason magazine? Do you also love basketball? Check out our Basketball Preseason Edition!

Video Intern

April Brumfield

Tony Coates

Video Intern

Graphic Design Intern

April is a digital media student at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College in Valdosta, and she is currently in her last semester there. She started her internship at ITG in the summer of 2018 as a videographer and video editor, where she displays a good sense of efficiency, quick thinking, and problem solving. April currently lives in Hahira, Georgia. When she is not busy with classes, April enjoys watching films, reading, and writing a script for her own future project.

Tony moved to Valdosta from Gwinnett County to pursue his career in graphic design. Mixing his unique creative style with advanced problem solving skills to stand out from the crowd, this Valdosta State University fine arts major hopes to make a name for himself and inspire creative paths on a global scale. Let’s just hope he can pull it off in the end unlike his Atlanta Falcons.

2018 High School Football Awards Banquet Each December, we gather the top players, coaches, and fans from South Georgia’s prestigious football culture in order to celebrate the season. Stay tuned to see how you can get involved!

December-January 2018 Baseball Preseason Prepare for long days at the diamond this spring with our baseball preseason edition! Team previews and special baseball features with other inspiring stories!

BE IN THE GAME

Gerald Thomas III

In The Game | 15


Presented by:

What is the most memorable moment of your ports career to date? I ended my sophomore season with 203 tackles. What makes you different from everyone else? I am a leader, and I’m not influenced by anyone else.

AHDARRIOUS GEE

Height

6’1” 16 | itgnext.com

Weight

206

LINEBACKER

GA Rank

81


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What is the most memorable moment of your sports career to date? My most memorable moment in my football career was when I caught an interception from the DE position my sophomore year against Thomasville. Who has helped you the most in your sports career? My biggest fan, my mother, has given me unlimited love and support. Also, coaches Maurice Freeman and Lamarr Thomas helped me nearly perfect my game.

TAEAVIION GRAY

Height

6’1�

Weight

205

GA Rank

131

TIGHT END / DEFENSIVE END

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What is the most memorable moment of your sports career to date? Beating Colquitt County. Who is your biggest athletic inspiration? Reuben Foster. I fly around like him, and I bring that boom like him. If you could play any other sport, what would it be? Basketball Because I’m really not the hooping type, but I know my coaches can help me learn and develop into it.

Height

6’2” 20 | itgnext.com

KD MCDANIEL Weight

222

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER

GA Rank

56


Tenneson Nissan Tall on Service, Short on Price!

www.TennesonNissan.com 1-229-382-7777 535 Old Omega Rd Tifton, GA 31794

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FIVE DECADES. THREE GENERATIONS. ONE FAMILY. Seven franchises in Four South Georgia communities.

All 100% Committed to You. Prince of Albany 2701 Ledo Road

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Prince Automotive Prince Ford 1410 Hwy. 82 W. 109 Westgreen Hwy.

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Douglas

Prince Automotive 4550 N. Valdosta Rd.

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Valdosta (229)242-3311


Presented by:

What is the most memorable moment of your sports career to date? My most memorable moment was my interception during the state championship and dragging them for some yards. Who has helped you the most in your sports career? My older brother has helped me a lot by showing me the way. He helped me by being there on and off the field. He also helped by improving my skills.

Height

6’1�

JAY WARD Weight

172

DEFENSIVE BACK

GA Rank

93

In The Game | 23


What is the most memorable moment of your sports career to date? When I received my first offer. Who has helped you the most in your sports career ? My mother, Pamela; my coach, Dan; and my brother, Chad. What makes you different from everyone else? I love the game. I’m the beast.

AUSTIN WILLIAMS Height

6’3”

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Weight

306

GA Rank

95

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER / DEFENSIVE LINEBACKER


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What is the most memorable moment of your sports career to date? In the region championship game, I broke the record for most yards after a catch in one game. I ended up scoring the last winning touchdown. Who is your biggest athletic inspiration? My biggest athletic inspiration is Derick Newton because he has my back, will never let me fail, and he pushes me to do the right thing. He has also taught me plenty of helpful things.

MILTON JACKSON

Height

Weight

5’11� 185 26 | itgnext.com

ATHLETE

GA Rank

181


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KEEPING YOU OFF THE INJURED LIST. walk-n clinic

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surgery center

physical therapy clinic

diagnostic imaging


Who has helped you the most in your sports career? My mother has helped me the most by staying on me and not letting me let up on anything, especially academics. After your sports career is over, what do you see yourself doing? Having a career in architecture and also coaching.

QUEVAN LAWSON Height

6’5”

Weight

210

GA Rank

95

DEFENSIVE END / OUTSIDE LINEBACKER

In The Game | 29


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What is the most memorable moment of your sports career to date? Last season playing against Thomasville. I went up over two DBs in the back of the endzone for a touchdown.

Who has helped you the most in your sports career ? My parents, coaches, teammates, and community. they all stressed the importance of great education and finishing what I start.

DEON FOUNTAIN Height

6’0”

Weight

170

GA Rank

188

WIDE RECEIVER / SAFETY

In The Game | 31


Class of Top Recruits Written by: Gerald Thomas III Photography courtesy of sports.vice.com

Kayvon Thibodeaux

School: Oaks Christian (Thousand Oaks, CA) Position: Weak-Side Defensive End Height: 6’5” Weight: 235 lbs. College Commitment: Undecided Kayvon Thibodeaux racked up 99 tackles along with 20 sacks in the 2017 football season for the Oaks Christian Lions. He led his team in both categories. Thibodeaux is a defensive anchor for the Lions and specializes at getting weak-side pressure on the opposing team. He is at the top of the 2019 football recruiting class entering his senior year. Thibodeaux is fielding offers from Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Oregon, and USC and is undecided at this time.

Nolan Smith School: IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL) Position: Weak-Side Defensive End Height: 6’3” Weight: 232 lbs. College Commitment: University of Georgia

Ishmael Sopsher

Zach Harrison

School: Amite (Amite, LA) Position: Defensive Tackle Height: 6’3.5” Weight: 330 lbs. College Commitment: Undecided Offers: Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Clemson, and Florida

School: Olentangy Orange (Lewis Center, OH) Position: Weak-Side Defensive End Height: 6’5.5” Weight: 244 lbs. College Commitment: Undecided Offers: Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Alabama, and Cincinnati

Jadon Haselwood School: Cedar Grove (Ellenwood, GA) Position: Wide Receiver Height: 6’2.5” Weight: 195 lbs. College Commitment: University of Georgia

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Darnell Wright School: Huntington (Huntington, WV) Position: Offensive Tackle Height: 6’6” Weight: 314 lbs. College Commitment: Undecided Offers: Alabama, Ohio State, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, and Clemson


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SOUTH GEORGIA’S LUXURY CAR DEALER In The Game | 33


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TAILGATING BASICS Written by: Anna Limoges

So you’ve been to a few of your friends’ tailgating parties, and now you want to try one of your own. Well, a lot more goes into throwing a successful tailgate than you might think. Here are a few tips and things to consider when planning the perfect pre-game party. Plan your menu! Go shopping two to three days in advance. Remember that there may not be a place for everyone to sit and eat, so foods that can be eaten standing up and with only one hand are ideal.

1.

4.

2.

5.

3.

6.

Pack up the night before! Prep everything so there’s less to do and worry about the day of. Slice up fruits and veggies; marinate meats; and pack up all the utensils, plates, condiments, and napkins. Anything that doesn’t need to be kept cold can be loaded into the car the night before game day. Rep your team! Deck out yourself and your tailgating site in your team’s colors and logos. We’re talking shirts, tents, socks, plates, coolers, and even grilling utensils. Go all out.

Arrive early! Secure the perfect tailgating site that’s near a grassy area (the edge of the lot or near a median) for the kids to run around and that’s shaded for when the sun starts to rise. Make sure to tag your site with a brightly colored canopy or flag so friends and family can easily spot it. Don’t leave in a hurry! Plan to stay an extra hour or two after the game ends. You won’t be stuck sitting in traffic with everyone else, plus you’ll have time to clean up your tailgating site.

Practice, practice, practice! The only way to get good at tailgating is to do it often and learn what works best for you and your crew. In The Game | 35


by Dedication Written by: Hillary Griffin and Anna Limoges Photography by: Micki K. Photography

The mindset of a champion is doing whatever it takes to win, and often what it takes is dedication to your sport, to your team, and to developing your talent. Marc Davis III, a senior at Thomasville High School, has been playing football since the age of 5, and now more than

ever – going into his fourth season with the bulldogs as a team captain – he puts God, family, and football at the forefront of his life. Davis’s main position is defensive end, but he’s multifaceted on the defensive line. During his sophomore year, he collected 15 tack-

les over the course of the season. Last year he led the team and region in tackles – 73 solo, 89 total – and was named First Team All-Region. “There is no doubt Marc’s biggest asset is his production,” Zach Grage, head football coach, said. “Through

Marc Davis on head coach Zach Grage:

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He puts his all into us, from taking us to colleges to paying for football camps. He even lets us stay at his house if we need a place to stay. He is very dedicated to the game of football.


his versatility, he can play every spot on the defensive line and make a difference when he is there. He is extremely coachable, very fundamentally sound, and knows how to use his skills to the fullest. Marc is not the biggest or fastest player on the field, but I can promise you that he gets the most out of his abilities. He’s the kind of player that you may not notice on a Friday night, but at the end of the day he fills up the stat sheet. Leading our team in tackles last year from the line is quite an accomplishment.” According to Grage, Davis will fill multiple roles on the team this year.

“He will still continue to bring his production from the defensive line on almost every snap, but will also see time at kicker and punter,” Grage said. “He may even surprise some people and spend some time on the offensive side of the ball.” Davis credited his constant skill improvement to his brothers, Roman and Caleb; weightlifting; and his coaches. He said the team makes sure to lift each other up and hold each other accountable on and off the field, but his brothers and coaches critique his work and tell him where he can still improve. According to Grage, that dedication to developing his talent

is what makes Davis such an asset to the team. “Marc has really bought into our program and understood how to work within our system on defense,” Grage said. “He asks more questions than any other player, and he always seems to be in the right place at the right time. He comes from a fantastic family and really leans hard on his mother and older brothers. You can tell he strives for perfection in everything he does, from the weight room to the practice field to the film room, and it shows up on Friday nights. This is a testament to his upbringing.” Davis also credited his progress on the field to

his improved health. He enal football player, as took weight lifting during well as an All-State goalie the semester last year, on our Final Four soccer and this summer he got team,” Grage said. “He some extra work in with has figured out how to exdefensive cel in both line coach without “I have seen Marc Alex Martin. taking away really grow into “I was a from either lot stockier sport. In a phenomenal before, and football player, as today’s soI wanted to ciety, that well as an Alltrim down is extremeand lose State goalie on our ly refreshthe weight, ing and Final Four soccer and with the becomteam.” weight loss ing more — Zach Grage I wanted to and more gain muscle, unique.” which is working signifiSpring training went cantly,” Davis said. well, according to DaDavis plays football in vis, and he believes the the fall and soccer in the Bulldogs are going to be spring. He said he never great this season. He is gets a break between the humble and gives all the two: As soon as football thanks, glory, and praise ends, soccer conditioning to God for how much starts, and when the soccer has been given to him season ends, spring foot- and for what is to come ball is already beginning. in the future. “I have seen Marc really grow into a phenom-

Head coach Zach Grage on Marc Davis: Through his versatility, he can play every spot on the defensive line and make a difference when he is there. In The Game | 37


REGION 1-7A

colquitt co.

packers SCHEDULE

Photography by: Mandy Douthit

Mack Tharpe Stadium

Written by: Phil Jones

Capacity: 10,000 8/18

@

McEachern

8/25

-

Trinity Catholic, MO

8/31

-

Thomasville

9/7

-

Valdosta

9/14

@

Warner Robins

9/21

@

Grayson

9/28

-

Alcovy

10/12

-

Camden County

10/19

@

Tift County

10/26

-

Lowndes

Head Coach: Rush Propst

105

Years at School: 10

Players To Watch

QB

RB

DB

Jaycee Harden

Daijun Edwards

Nyquann Washington

DB K/P Jay Ward

Record at School:

34

2017 Overall Record

11-4

The Colquitt County Packers surprised everyone in 2017, making it to the state title game only to lose in heartbreaking fashion to North Gwinnett. No one expected last year’s team to seriously contend for a championship. It was the 2018 Colquitt team of head coach Rush Propst that was the one to watch…and still is. The 2018 Packers are loaded with exceptional talent and possess depth at practically every position, and most of the contributors from 2017 return. Despite having tons of talent and optimism, the Pack will certainly miss quarterback Steven Krajewski, who signed with Connecticut, and linebacker JJ Peterson, who signed with Tennessee. Colquitt will count on junior Jaycee Harden to take over for Krajewski. This will be the third straight year the Packers have a first-year starter at quarterback. Expect to see the Pack run the ball quite a bit in 2018 as Daijun Edwards and Ty Leggett return, and they’ll have a big and talented offensive line to run behind. Defensively, the Packers lose Peterson and safety Kaleb Dawson, but will welcome back defensive backs Nyquann Washington and Jay Ward, who made a huge impact last year. The Pack will also count on Kam Woods to replace Dawson at safety. Ryan Fitzgerald, the kicker/punter for Colquitt who Propst regards as maybe the best in the country, is also back in 2018. The Packers won’t surprise anyone if they make it back to the state title game. Perhaps the biggest question is if Propst and the Pack can live up to lofty expectations in 2018.

Team Leaders

Ryan Fitzgerald

2017 Region Record

Steven Krajewski Daijun Edwards Cam Singletary

1 -2 Points Scored: 443 Points Allowed: 254

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Steven Krajewski Rashad Revels Nyquann Washington

2017 STATS leading passer Yards: 2,438 leading rusher Yards:1,038 leading receiver Yards: 1,025 leading TD scorer Total Touchdowns: 25 leading tackler Total Tackles: 201 interception leader Total Interceptions: 5


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vikings SCHEDULE

Photography by: Mandy Douthit

Martin Stadium

Written by: Phil Jones

Capacity: 12,365 8/17

-

Drew

8/24

-

Chamblee

8/31

@

Parkview

MLB/RB

9/7

-

East Coweta

9/14

-

Lincoln, Tallahassee

Gary Osby

9/21

@

Valdosta

9/28

-

Ware County

10/12

-

Tift County

10/19

-

Camden County

10/26

@

Colquitt County

Players To Watch

RB

OLB

Travis Tisdale

Jamari Hill

QB

WR/CB

Joe Almond

Ghetti Brown

Team Leaders Michael Barrett Michael Barrett Tayvonn Kyle Travis Tisdale Will Tolbert Terrell Belcher

2017 STATS leading passer Yards: 1,705 leading rusher Yards:1,195 leading receiver Yards: 766 leading TD scorer Total Touchdowns: 15 leading tackler Total Tackles: 62 interception leader Total Interceptions: 6

At first glance, Lowndes fans may want to sound the alarm when they see that the Vikings lose nine offensive starters and seven defensive starters from last year’s 11-1 team. But looks can be deceiving, as Lowndes showed in their spring game versus the Valdosta Wildcats. Several of the new faces that Region Coach of the Year Randy McPherson will count on in 2018 showed that they should be up to the task. That includes sophomore quarterback Joe Almond, who has the tough task of replacing two-time Region Player of the Year Michael Barrett, who signed with Michigan. The speedy Travis Tisdale is back, as are receivers Ghetti Brown and Tyler Simms. They’ll be counted on to replace Tayvonn Kyle, Will Tolbert, Marcus Gary, and Jalen Goss. Gone are defensive backs Fred Stewart and Tymere Moore, linebacker Tyson Shaw, and most of the defensive line. The good news is that Lowndes will return Jamari Hill at inside linebacker and Josh Brown at cornerback. Gary Osby, who played defensive end last year, may be moved to offense to play running back alongside Tisdale. According to McPherson, the Vikings will be as big and athletic as they’ve been in a while, and the head coach likes the size he has, especially up front on both sides of the ball. Despite losing some big time talent from last year, expect McPherson to have Lowndes right back in the thick of things in Region 1-7A.

2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

11-1

3-0

Head Coach: Randy McPherson Years at School: 16 Record at School:

157 228

Returning Offensive Starters:

Someone you can count on.

41

All-time Record:

Points Allowed: 186 Points Scored: 621

REGION 1-7A

lowndes

50

Returning Defensive Starters:

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Barry Broome In The Game | 41


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REGION 1-7A

TIFT CO.

BLUE DEVILS SCHEDULE

Photography by: Cindy Rewis

Brodie Field

Written by: Phil Jones

SCHEDULE

Team Leaders

2017 STATS

Griffin Collier

leading passer Yards: 2,941 leading rusher

Mike Jones

Yards: 1,301 leading receiver

Rashod Bateman

Yards: 1,539 leading TD scorer

Griffin Collier

Total Touchdowns: 33 leading tackler

Jeffery Butler

Total Tackles: 86 interception leader

Jeffery Butler

Total Interceptions: 3

Players To Watch

RB

Capacity: 9,250

OLB OLB

Mike Jones

Austin Williams

KD McDaniel

NG

OL

Ricky Perry

Landon Bateman

Points Scored: 453 Points Allowed: 273

8/17

@

Warner Robins

8/24

-

Valdosta

8/31

@

Worth County

9/7

-

Crisp County

9/14

-

Parkview

9/28

@

Bainbridge

10/5

-

Miller Grove

10/12

@

Lowndes

10/19

-

Colquitt County

11/2

@

Camden County

Tift County has started building the type of football program fans everywhere thought they should have: one competing for region and state championships. That means winning despite losing top-tier talent. And that’s exactly what the Blue Devils and head coach Ashley Anders face heading into 2018. Gone are three-year starting quarterback Griffin Collier, safety Andrew Johnson (Oregon), and Minnesota signee Rashod Bateman. Running back Cam Cobb departed, but Tift has Second Team All-State selection Mike Jones returning in the backfield. He will have a big offensive line to run behind, according to Anders. In fact, the Tift head coach said the line, on both sides, will be the biggest and strongest he’s ever had while at Tifton. Returning starters Austin Williams and Landon Bateman will open up holes for Jones, who rushed for 1,300 yards as a junior last season. Two candidates are battling it out for the starting quarterback position: junior Weston Clamp and sophomore Mac Turner. “They both have strong arms and can throw it a mile, but neither have much experience,” Anders said. Defensively, the Devils will miss Johnson, but two seniors return to give Tift size and experience on that side of the ball: Ricky Perry, who plugs things up in the middle at 305 pounds, and KD McDaniel. Fernando Ramirez, whose last-second kick gave Tift a huge win over Colquitt last year, is gone. Younger brother Rosendo will step in. According to Anders, the younger Ramirez actually has a stronger leg, but accuracy has been an issue. Can Tift keep their winning ways going in 2018? According to Anders, the answer is yes. “It all starts with the big guys up front, and that’s where we will be better, stronger, and faster than last year,” Anders said. “Experience returning at running back will be a big plus for us this season.” Tift begins its 2018 season at Warner Robins.

2017 Overall Record

11-2 2017 Region Record

2-1 Head Coach: Ashley Anders Years at School: 3 Record at School:

22

12

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In The Game | 43


2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

4-2

10-6

Written by: Gerald Thomas III

Points Scored: 353

Photography courtesy of keepingitheel.com

Points Allowed: 312

Mercedez-Benz Stadium 80,000

Head Coach: Dan Quinn Years at School: 2 All-Time Record: 29

19

Who to Watch WR Julio Jones QB Matt Ryan LB Deion Jones RB Devonte Freeman S Keanu Neal

Team Leaders

2017 STATS

Matt Ryan

Yards: 4,095

leading passer

Devonta Freeman

leading rusher

Julio Jones

leading receiver

Matt Ryan

leading TD scorer

Deion Jones

leading tackler

Deion Jones

interception leader

44 | itgnext.com

Yards: 865

Yards: 1,444

Total Touchdowns: 20

Total Tackles: 138

Total Interceptions: 3

Atlanta

Falcons

With Super Bowl 53 being played at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Falcons are hoping to become the first team to host the Super Bowl. Coming off their Super Bowl 51 meltdown, we saw the Falcons take a step back. The team went 10-6 and grabbed the final NFC playoff seed. We did not see the same high-powered offense in 2017 that got them to the Super Bowl in the previous season. This could be because of the difference of play-calling techniques between Kyle Shanahan and his successor, Steve Sarkisian. The Falcons’ season came to an end in the NFC Divisional Round against the eventual Super Bowl champions, the Philadelphia Eagles. With the loss of wide receiver Taylor Gabriel to the Chicago Bears, the Falcons invested their first-round pick on Alabama’s Calvin Ridley. He will most likely spend time as the third option behind Julio Jones and Mohammad Sanu. The Falcons focused on their defense in the draft, bringing in CB Isaiah Oliver, DT Deandrin Senat, and LB Foyesade Oluokun. The Falcons had the ninth ranked defense in 2017, fitting into the system of Dan Quinn, who coached the Seattle Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom.” The Atlanta Falcons should continue their success with their steady defensive improvements and attempt to get their offense back into rhythm if they expect to make another run at the Super Bowl.


2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

4-2

10-6 Written by: Gerald Thomas III Photography courtesy of nflmocks.com

Points Scored: 417

Jaguars

Points Allowed: 268

Jacksonville

The Jacksonville Jaguars made one of the biggest turnarounds in 2017, going 10-6 following a 3-13 2016 campaign. The team returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2007 NFL season. The Jags ended the 2016 season with zero pro-bowlers and had one of the worst records in the league. Interim head coach Doug Marrone was given the keys after the Jags let go of head coach Gus Bradley. In the following offseason, the Jaguars invested their fourth overall draft pick on running back Leonard Fournette. Fournette rushed for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns in his rookie campaign. Blake Bortles was a game manager and could keep the games within reach, despite not being good on paper. The Jaguars had the No. 2 defense in 2017, backed by cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye along with defensive end Calais Campbell, and reached the AFC Divisional Round, losing 24-20 to the New England Patriots. The hunger of this young Jaguars team was evident. The had six pro-bowlers in the 2017 season. The team lost two of their top receivers, Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, but re-signed Marquise Lee to a three-year contract in hopes of him stepping up to be that first option. Their defense is still intact, and they will be looking to wreak the same havoc they did a season ago. The Jaguars are slated to continue making improvements to make a Super Bowl run in the upcoming 2018 season.

EverBank Field 67,164

Head Coach: Doug Marrone Years at School: 1 Record at School: 10

6

Who to Watch CB Jalen Ramsey RB Leonard Fournette CB AJ Bouye DT Malik Jackson QB Blake Bortles

Team Leaders

2017 STATS

Blake Bortles

Yards: 3,687

leading passer

Leonard Fournette

leading rusher

Keelan Cole

leading receiver

Yards: 1,040

Yards: 748

Leonard Fournette

leading TD scorer

Telvin Smith

leading tackler

AJ Bouye

interception leader

Total Touchdowns: 10

Total Tackles: 102

Total Interceptions: 6

In The Game | 45


REGION 1-6A

coffee co.

trojans SCHEDULE

Photography by: Micki K. Photography

Jardine Stadium

Written by: Phil Jones

Capacity: 6,500

Players To Watch

8/17

-

Brunswick

8/24

-

Salem

8/31

@

Ware County

9/7

-

Taravella, FL

9/14

-

Miller Grove

9/21

-

Chamblee

10/5

@

Northside, Warner Robins

10/12

@

Valdosta

10/19

-

Houston County

11/2

-

Lee County

After coming close to a state championship last year in class 6A, the Coffee Trojans will attempt to pull it together and make another run in 2018. The path will be anything but easy for coach Robby Pruitt and his team as they must replace several key areas lost to graduation. The Trojans will only return two starters on defense and four on offense. Coffee must replace quarterback Wade Sumner, receiver Dalrone Donaldson, and H-back Raekwon Burch. The losses are even bigger on defense. Gone are All-State defensive end Derick Newton, who signed with Kansas State, and All-Region and All-State two-way player Jameon Gaskin, who will attend Valdosta State University. Gaskin was a running back and linebacker for Coffee in 2017. Twin brothers Jarquavious and Marquavious Jefferson were Coffee’s starting corners last season and must be replaced. Help will be coming back in 2018. Returning are All-State receiver Milton Jackson and linemen Noah Johnson, William Osteen, and Jayman Speight. Safety Ty Burks is back, as are nose guard Josiah Killibrew and kicker Jose Revis. “We lost a bunch,” Pruitt said. “We’ve got to find a new quarterback, a receiver. We lost almost our entire defense. Plus, the fact that we play in such a tough region doesn’t make it any easier. We certainly have a lot of question marks heading into this season.” Coffee will open the 2018 season at home, hosting Brunswick.

2017 Overall Record

10-4

2017 Region Record

3-1

ATH

FS

OLB/MLB

Milton Jackson

Azi Johnson

Quinton Flowers

SS/FS

K

Ty Burks

Jose Revis

Team Leaders Wade Sumner Jameon Gaskin

Head Coach: Robby Pruitt

Dalrone Donaldson

Years at School: 6 Record at School:

Jameon Gaskin

47

24

All-time Record:

341

1 79

Derick Newton Marquavious Jefferson

2017 STATS leading passer Yards: 2,189 leading rusher Yards:1,283 leading receiver Yards: 738 leading TD scorer Total Touchdowns: 20 leading tackler Total Tackles: 93 interception leader Total Interceptions: 5

Points Allowed: 272

Returning Offensive Starters:

Returning Defensive Starters:

Points Scored: 429

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46 | itgnext.com


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48 | itgnext.com


BEARS

SCHEDULE

Photography by: Milla Creationz Photography

Freedom Field

Written by: Phil Jones Houston County is hoping to put a rough 2017 season behind them. Ryan Crawford’s first season as the Bears head coach was a disappointing 2-8, but he hopes that having six starters back on offense and five on defense will bring better things in 2018. That starts with having last year’s quarterback, Max Rigby, back to run the offense. He’ll have seniors Eric Preston and Scott Aiken back on the offensive line, as well as skill position players Xavier Duncan (wide receiver) and Jaylen Mills (receiver). Linebackers Antuan Adams and Wesley Steiner return. Steiner will also see time at running back, where he played pretty well last year, rushing for 700 yards as a sophomore. Senior defensive lineman Sion Spencer will also be back this season. The Bears will miss Trey Hill, who was a tour de force on both sides of the ball and signed with the University of Georgia; his impact will be missed. Also graduated are cornerbacks Javaris Michael and Kiefer Askew. Houston County will roll out new talent on special teams this year, as Ren Collier will assume the duties of kicker in 2018. Rixby will serve as punter in addition to his quarterback duties. Crawford expects the Bears to be more competitive in 2018 with Rixby having a year of starting duties under his belt as well as a coaching staff back fully intact.

Head Coach: Ryan Crawford Years at School: 1 Record at School: 2

9

Team Leaders Max Rigby Wesley Steiner Khalil Polk Max Rigby Ed Devellerez K. Polk, K. Askew

Capacity: 6,000

SCHEDULE 8/17

-

Perry

8/23

-

Central, Macon

8/31

-

Rutland

9/7

@

Peach County

9/14

@

Veterans

9/28

@

Warner Robins

10/5

-

Valdosta

10/19

@

Coffee

10/26

@

Lee County

11/2

-

Northside, Warner Robins

Players To Watch

2017 Overall Record

QB MLB WR Max Rigby

Antuan Adams

Xavier Duncan

T

RB

Eric Preston

Wesley Steiner

2-9 2017 Region Record

2017 STATS leading passer Yards: 1,130 leading rusher

0-4

Yards: 764 leading receiver Yards: 208 leading TD scorer

Points Scored: 133

Total Touchdowns: 10 leading tackler

Points Allowed: 374

Total Tackles: 84 interception leader

REGION 1-6A

houston co.

Returning Offensive Starters:

Returning Defensive Starters:

Total Interceptions: 1

In The Game | 49


REGION 1-6A

lee co.

trojans SCHEDULE

Photography by: Micki K. Photography

Trojan Field

Written by: Phil Jones

Capacity: 7,000 8/17

@

Dougherty

8/25

-

Dr. Phillips, Florida

8/31

-

Peach County

9/7

@

Americus-Sumter

9/14

-

Southwest

9/28

@

Thomson

10/12

@

Northside, Warner Robins

10/19

-

Valdosta

10/26

-

Houston County

11/2

@

Coffee

Players To Watch

Lee County is coming off their most successful season in school history, one that included just one loss and a state championship. The Trojans return just four starters on offense and defense and lose 41 seniors total, including some major contributors from last year. Gone are quarterback Jase Orndorff, who signed with Dodge City Community College; AJC Super 11 free safety Otis Reese, who will play at the University of Georgia; Griffin McDowell, who will be missed along the offensive line; WR Joshua Asbury; RB Nikko Cruz; DB Kermit Solomon; and DB TJ Harris. The offense will break in a new quarterback in Kyle Toole. He’ll have returning receivers Chauncey Magwood and Artavius Warren to throw to and returning running back Shaundarious Kimbrough to hand the ball to. Big offensive lineman Griffin Carder returns to provide blocking up front. There is some good news on defense, as the three starters up front return. That group is NG Anthony Harvey and ends Eric Price and Jackson Griffin. Asked if he feels that Lee County can keep up their winning ways, Fabrizio said don’t count on his squad taking a step backwards. “We’ve got a lot of really good kids who have come up through our program, and they are ready to play their part,” Fabrizio said. “The thing is, when you are a good program, you’ll always be replacing good players. Our junior varsity went undefeated, so we think we’ve got a good bunch ready to step up.” Lee County opens the 2018 season against Dougherty High School.

2017 Overall Record

QB

RB

Griffin Carder

Kyle Toole

Shaundarious Kimbrough

WR

WR

Chauncey Magwood

Artavius Warren

Returning Offensive Starters: Returning Defensive Starters:

2017 Region Record Head Coach: Dean Fabrizio

14-1

OL

3-1

Years at School: 9 Record at School:

66

35

Points Allowed: 208 Points Scored: 533

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2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

7-1

13-2 Points Scored: 531 Points Allowed: 246

Sanford Stadium 92,746

Dawg’s Redemption

Head Coach: Kirby Smart

Written by: Gerald Thomas III

Years at School: 2 Record at School: 21

7

Who to Watch CB Mark Webb QB Justin Fields DE Johnathan Ledbetter WR Riley Ridley LB Monty Rice

Team Leaders

2017 STATS

Jake Fromm

Yards: 2,615

leading passer

Nick Chubb

Yards:1,345

leading rusher

Javon Wims

Yards: 720

leading receiver

Sony Michel

leading TD scorer

Total Touchdowns: 17

Roquan Smith

leading tackler

Dominick Sanders

interception leader

52 | itgnext.com

Total Tackles: 137

Total Interceptions: 4

The Georgia Bulldogs returned to prominence last season, going 13-2 and winning the SEC Championship for the first time since 2002. They also earned a berth to the National Championship, where they fell to the Alabama Crimson Tide 26-23. Jake Fromm jumped onto the scene as the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback after Jacob Eason went down with a knee injury in the season opener. Despite Fromm being a freshman, he did not disappoint, passing for 2,615 yards with 24 touchdowns. Running back Nick Chubb had a memorable senior campaign after battling injuries over the past two seasons, picking up 1,345 yards and 15 touchdowns. Linebacker Roquan Smith anchored Georgia’s defense – ranked sixth in the nation – leading the team with 137 tackles and 6.5 sacks. Georgia is looking to return to the top of the nation once again, as Kirby Smart enters his third season as the head coach of the team. Fromm will return with his main receiving target Terry Godwin, but his two top running backs, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, left for the pros. This upcoming season will be a stepping stone for J.R. Reed, as he will hold responsibility for being the defensive lead for the Bulldogs. Georgia hopes to hold the same success as last year, but with one small change: This year, they want to go all the way.


Eagles

SCHEDULE

McConnell-Talbert Stadium

Written by: Phil Jones

Capacity: 8,000

At Northside (Warner Robins), Kevin Kinsler begins his eighth season as head coach of the Eagles, one of the most successful programs in the state of Georgia. In fact, last year’s 8-4 record marks one of the lowest win totals in a season at Northside in a while and was the lowest for Kinsler since taking over for Conrad Nix in 2010. And with only four starters back on offense and three on defense back in 2018, things don’t necessarily get easier any time soon. The good news is that Kinsler and staff have several skill position players back: Quarterback Jadin Daniels is back and will probably see time at wide receiver again this year. Kinsler praised Daniels for having a good offseason this year. Receiver/ backs Eric Smith, Daniel Neal, and Kobie Phillips are all back, but Jordan McGhee is the only returning offensive lineman. The defensive backfield will see rover Kentrez Anthony return along with cornerback Tubby McCall. Up front, Fred Chappell and Deandre Walker will return on the defensive line. The Eagles will have to replace all linebackers from last year, including KJ Little. Returning to handle punting and kicking chores is Cory Munson, who had a great season last year and is receiving a lot of attention, according to Kinsler. You can’t keep a good team down; after a 2-2 region mark in 2017, look for Northside (Warner Robins) to be determined to regain their dominance this season.

Head Coach: Kevin Kinsler

2017 Overall Record

8-4

Years at School: 8 Record at School: 88

Team Leaders Jadin Daniels Eric Smith Kobie Phillips Marcus Jolly Kameron Tate William McCall

REGION 1-6A

Northside, Warner Robins

15

2017 STATS

8/17

@

Centennial

8/25

-

Peach County

8/31

-

Jones County

9/7

-

Whitewater

9/14

@

Baldwin

9/21

-

Warner Robins

10/5

-

Coffee

10/12

-

Lee County

10/26

@

Valdosta

11/2

@

Houston County

Players To Watch

CB

QB

SS

Tubby McCall

Jadin Daniels

Kentrez Anthony

RB

DT

Daniel Neal

Fred Chappell

2017 Region Record

leading passer Yards: 451 leading rusher Yards:423 leading receiver Yards: 282 leading TD scorer

2-2 Points Scored: 235

Total Touchdowns: 8 leading tackler Total Tackles: 86 interception leader

Points Allowed: 158

Returning Offensive Starters:

Returning Defensive Starters:

Total Interceptions: 5

In The Game | 53


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REGION 1-6A

VALDOSTA

WILDCATS SCHEDULE

Photography by: Marcy Reagin & Haley Haley Hogan

Bazemore-Hyder Stadium

Written by: Phil Jones

Capacity: 11,249 8/17

-

Jackson, Atlanta

8/24

@

Tift County

8/31

-

Bradwell Institute

QB/WR

9/7

@

Colquitt County

9/14

-

Beaufort, South Carolina

Tate Rodemaker

9/21

-

Lowndes

10/5

@

Houston County

10/12

-

Coffee

10/19

@

Lee County

10/26

-

Northside, Warner Robins

Players To Watch

RB

WR

Jaheim Bell

Devontay Berrian

WR OLB Rajaez Mosley

Tim Young

2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

4-7

2-2

With their spring football practice and game behind them, the Wildcats now focus on getting ready for the 2018 season. Coach Alan Rodemaker enters his third season as head coach at Valdosta and has had to deal not only with the loss of several key players from last year, but changes in his coaching staff. The changes include bringing in new coordinators on offense and defense. Josh Crawford takes over as offensive coordinator, and Justin Montgomery is the new defensive coordinator. Both coordinators will have their work cut out for them, including Montgomery replacing the entire secondary and nine starters in all. Crawford has to focus on replacing players as well, including quarterback Hunter Holt. Help is on the way however, including playmaker Devontay Berrian, who will log a lot of playing time for the Cats this year offensively. He showed flashes of brilliance in the spring game, scoring two touchdowns against Lowndes. Berrian will have Jaheim Bell joining him as another receiver. The man charged with getting the ball to them will be quarterback Tate Rodemaker, who saw significant playing time last year, splitting time with Holt. Rajaez Mosley will be the primary back carrying the ball for the Wildcats in 2018. Valdosta will open the 2018 season at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium against the Jackson High Jaguars from Atlanta.

Head Coach: Alan Rodemaker

Returning Defensive Starters:

Years at School: 3 Record at School:

Points Allowed: 259

18 Points Scored:182

9

All-time Record:

33

17

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In The Game | 55


REGION 1-5A

bainbridge

bearcats SCHEDULE

Photography courtesy of FNB

Centennial Stadium

Written by: Phil Jones

Capacity: 10,000

Players To Watch

8/17

-

Seminole County

8/24

-

Cairo

8/31

@

Lincoln, Florida

9/7

@

Brooks County

9/21

-

Crisp County

9/28

-

Tift County

10/5

-

Veterans

10/19

@

Warner Robins

10/26

-

Harris County

11/2

@

Thomas County Central

The Bainbridge Bearcats and head coach Jeff Littleton return five starters on the defensive side of the ball and six starters on offense from last year’s 8-4 team. One big loss for Bainbridge, however, will be standout running back Dameon Pierce, who was an absolute force running the football for the Bearcats. Also lost to graduation are defensive end Darius Adams and offensive lineman Hudson Barber. But Bainbridge’s situation isn’t unique, as all teams across South Georgia will be looking to returners to carry the load in 2018. Offensively, Littleton and Bainbridge will return several linemen, led by Jacob McLaughlin at left guard. Ben Mitchell and Brad Mitchell return to join McLaughlin on the interior of the O-line, with Bowen Dodson returning at the tight end spot. As far as the skill position players, Bainbridge will be led by wide receivers Aaron Spivie, who will also see time at defensive back, and AJ Cooper. On defense, the five starters are Roman Harrison at defensive end, Randy Fillingame and Anthony Brooks at linebacker, and defensive backs Caleb McDowell and Fred Thompson. McDowell will also be called upon to return kicks and punts. Kicker Caleb Harris returns in 2018 as well. It certainly won’t be easy to replace Pierce. It never is when you’re talking about the truly great ones, which he is. Bainbridge opens the 2018 season at home versus Seminole County.

2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

8-4

3-1

Head Coach: Jeff Littleton Years at School: 5 Record at School:

37

12

ATH/DB

MLB

DE

Caleb McDowell

Anthony Brooks

Roman Harrison

WR

WR

Adrian Cooper

Aaron Spivie

Team Leaders Mark Loeffler Dameon Pierce Adrian Cooper Dameon Pierce Randy Fillingame Zyon McGee/Fred Thompson

Points Allowed: 251

Returning Offensive Starters:

Returning Defensive Starters:

Flutter Kick Lie on your back on a gym mat with your legs extended and your arms alongside your hips, palms down. Lift your legs 4 to 6 inches off the floor. Press your lower back into the mat. Keep your legs straight as you rhythmically raise one leg higher, then switch. Move in a fluttering, up-and-down motion. Perform for 15-20 repetitions. Alternatively, flutter kick for a period of time, such as 20-30 seconds.

56 | itgnext.com

Points Scored: 439

2017 STATS leading passer Yards: 1,071 leading rusher Yards: 2,123 leading receiver Yards: 368 leading TD scorer Total Touchdowns: 33 leading tackler Total Tackles: 74 interception leader Total Interceptions: 4


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Phoebe Orthopaedics of Albany

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Troy Skidmore, DO Nur Nurbhai, DO Anie Uyoe, MD Jordan Knoefler, MD

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In The Game | 59


1515 East Jackson St - Thomasville, GA 31792

(229) 233-4277

www.ThomasvilleFord.com


yellowjackets SCHEDULE

Photography by: Vince Jupiter

Thomas County Central Football Stadium

Written by: Phil Jones After leading the Valwood Valiants to prominence in GISA over the last six years, Ashley Henderson takes his talents to Thomas County Central, where he was named new head coach this offseason. Henderson takes over a Yellow Jacket football program that experienced one of its worst seasons ever in 2017, finishing 3-8 overall under Bill Shaver. According to Henderson, despite last year, he sees a lot of things to get excited about at Thomas County Central. “I’m happy with the progress so far,” Henderson said. “The kids have really bought into the total program. There’s a lot of excitement about the season, and we are looking forward to it.” Henderson should be excited with all 11 starters returning on offense and a large number of contributors on defense. Coming back to show their stuff for the new staff are tight end/defensive end Ben Wilheim; linebackers BJ Smallwood, Jaylen Dunbar, and Darian Daniels; lineman Andrew Peeples; receiver Aubrey Stafford; quarterback Kalique Guyton; and wide receiver Tykeem Wallace. Players that will be missed are running back Tay Cooksey and lineman Trae Johnson. The 2018 Yellow Jackets will be young, and it will be interesting to see how quickly Henderson can turn things around. But, whether it’s this year or next, expect the new head coach to put Thomas County football back on top, where it belongs. Henderson and his staff will make their debut in front of the home fans as they host the Early Bobcats.

SCHEDULE

REGION 1-5A

thomas co. central

Capacity: 8,000

8/17

-

Early County

8/24

@

Thomasville

9/7

@

Cook

9/14

-

Monroe

9/21

-

Brooks County

10/5

@

Worth County

10/12

-

Warner Robins

10/19

@

Harris County

10/26

@

Veterans

11/2

-

Bainbridge

2017 Overall Record Players To Watch

3-8

Returning Offensive Starters:

2017 Region Record

QB

LB

TE/DE

Kalique Guyton

Darian Daniels

Ben Wilheim

WR

WR

Tykeem Wallace

Aubrey Stafford

Points Scored: 172 Points Allowed: 374

1-3

Head Coach: Ashley Henderson Years at School: 1 All Time Record: 66

12

Bryan Gainous, Agent 229-226-6965 www.thomasvillesf.com 1204 E Jackson St Thomasville, GA 31792

Auto Home Life Health Bank In The Game | 61


REGION 1-5A

warner robins

demons SCHEDULE

Photography by: Micki K. Photography

McConnell-Talbert Stadium

Written by: Phil Jones

Capacity: 8,000 8/17

-

Tift County

8/24

@

Locust Grove

9/7

@

Baldwin

9/14

-

Colquitt County

9/21

@

Northside, Warner Robins

9/28

-

Houston County

10/5

@

Harris County

10/12

@

Thomas County Central

10/19

-

Bainbridge

11/2

-

Veterans

Team Leaders

2017 STATS

Dylan Fromm

leading passer Yards: 3,505 leading rusher

Jarrius Burnett

Yards: 1,257 leading receiver

Julius Cobbs

Yards: 1,121 leading TD scorer

Dylan Fromm

Total Touchdowns: 35 leading tackler

JerQuan Parrish

2017 Overall Record

15-1

Total Tackles: 100 interception leader

K. Duvall, J. Miller

Total Interceptions: 3

2017 Region Record Players To Watch

Head Coach: Mike Chastain Years at School: 2 Record at School: 17

9

Points Scored: 569 Points Allowed: 302

Burpee Begin standing. Move into a squat position with your hands on the ground. Kick your feet back into a plank position, while keeping your arms extended. Immediately return your feet into squat position. Stand up from the squat position.

62 | itgnext.com

Warner Robins had a great season last year under second-year head coach Mike Chastain, with their only, and most painful, loss coming during the state championship game against Rome. Renewed confidence and key players back in 2018 could put Warner Robins in the mix for another run at it. According to Chastain, Warner Robins lost 35 seniors, 17 of whom are playing college football this year. However, the coach said despite those losses, the team will have quite a few returning contributors in 2018. Part of that group are quarterback Dylan Fromm and twin brother Tyler Fromm, who will play wide receiver/tight end and who has already committed to Auburn University. Other returners on offense will be a receivers group led by Marcayll Jones, along with running backs Jahlen Rutheford and Deondre Duehart. Most of the offensive line will also return. On defense, the Demons will be helped by two newcomers: Trey Franklin and Caleb Thomas will join the team, transferring from Houston County. Franklin will play safety, and Thomas will play defensive end. Cornerback/punt returner Tay Bryant returns from last year, as does outside linebacker Christian Anderson. Another big weapon for Chastain last year will unfortunately not be back in 2018. Kicker Eli Mashburn practically won three games for his team last year, with two “walk-off” kicks as time expired and a third field goal in the last minute of regulation. Mashburn is now playing collegiately at Fort Valley State University. “We’ve got a real strong group coming back,” Chastain said. “We’re certainly looking to bounce back from that loss (to Rome). You might say we’ve got a chip on our shoulder.” Warner Robins will kick off a daunting schedule at home versus Tift County.

4-0

QB

RB

WR/TE

Dylan Fromm

Jahlen Rutheford

Tyler Fromm

OLB RB Christian Anderson

Deondre Duehart


Warhawks

SCHEDULE Freedom Field

Written by: Phil Jones

Capacity: 6,000 8/17

@

Upson-Lee

8/24

-

Bleckley County

8/31

@

Baldwin

ATH

9/7

-

Statesboro

9/14

-

Houston County

Kedrek Smith

9/21

@

Perry

10/5

@

Bainbridge

10/12

-

Harris County

10/26

-

Thomas County Central

11/2

@

Warner Robins

Players To Watch

RB

WR/SS

Cyrus Zuell

Sebastian Verger

DE

S

Jalon Shine

Jacob Pearce

Team Leaders Leyton Pinckney Jeremy Horton Jeremy Horton Jeremy Horton Justin Stevens

2017 STATS leading passer Yards: 875 leading rusher Yards: 236 leading receiver Yards: 303 leading TD scorer Total Touchdowns: 4 interception leader Total Interceptions: 1

REGION 2-5A

Veterans

The Warhawks have a new head coach – only the second in school history – but he’s no “new” coach. Long-time high school coach Milan Turner was named head football coach at the Kathleen school earlier this year. He replaces David Bruce, who has been the head coach at Veterans since the school was established in 2010. Turner was an assistant at Coffee County the past four years, but won a state championship as a head coach at Emanuel County Institute in 2007. He then went to Thomson High, where he was head coach from 2008-10. Eager to begin his first year at Veterans, Turner said he likes what he has seen with the team’s energy and excitement. “We’ve had an intense offseason and summer,” Turner said. “Our coaches and players have worked extremely hard so far, and we’re ready to get after it.” Turner will have 4 returning starters on offense and three on defense. Impact players include quarterback Sebastian Verger, running back Cyrus Zuell, and athlete Kedrek Smith. He also pointed out that wide receiver Cordelle Clark will be instrumental to the offense’s success this season. Defensively, Turner expects safety Jacob Pearce, defensive tackle Tylon Chambers, and defensive end Jalon Shine to contribute mightily against opponents’ attempts to move the football. The Warhawks will kick 2017 Overall 2017 Region things off in Thomaston against Upson Lee. Record Record

2-8

0-4

Head Coach: Milan Turner

Points Allowed: 156

Returning Offensive Starters:

Returning Defensive Starters: Points Scored: 291

In The Game | 63


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SYRUPMAKERS SCHEDULE

Photography courtesy of FNB

West Thomas Stadium

Written by: Phil Jones 8/17

-

Thomasville

8/24

@

Bainbridge

9/7

@

Northside, Columbus

WR

9/14

-

Hardaway

9/21

@

Westover

Marquii Lovejoy

9/28

-

Columbus

10/5

-

Carver, Columbus

10/19

-

Americus-Sumter

10/26

@

Shaw

11/2

@

Dougherty

Players To Watch

QB

RB/OLB

Matthew Peters

Jamarcus Vicks

RB

WR/SB

Quay Edwards

Cameron Goosby

Team Leaders Robert Matthew Peters Jamarcus Vicks Marquii Lovejoy Tahj Vicks Tahj Vicks Tahj Vicks

2017 STATS leading passer Yards: 1,083 leading rusher Yards: 1,083 leading receiver Yards: 255 leading TD scorer

After an 11-2 overall record, a region championship, and a trip to the state quarterfinals in 2016, Cairo was fully expecting to be rebuilding in 2017. That meant Cairo was looking at the possibility of not making the state playoffs for the first time in 14 years. But head coach Steve Devoursney and his staff had a determined bunch of Syrupmakers on their hands, and the team would not be denied. Cairo, despite getting off to a slow start, finished strong with an 8-4 overall record and an impressive 6-1 mark in region play, which was good enough for the No. 2 seed, and, yes, another trip to the state playoffs. Their 15 straight playoff seasons is one of the best marks in GHSA history. Will Cairo have what it takes to make it 16 straight in 2018? There’s a good chance the answer will be yes. The Syrupmakers and Devoursney will return eight starters on offense and five on defense this season. That includes starting junior quarterback Matthew Peters, who took over the starting duties in the third week of last season and led Cairo the rest of the way to the playoffs. Peters will have familiar company in the backfield, as running backs Jamarcus Vicks and Quay Edwards return. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Edwards and Vicks won’t have the luxury of running behind offensive linemen Dalton Newmons and Riley Maynard. The two have graduated. Despite those losses, Cairo will certainly contend for the top seed in Region 1-4A, along with Americus Sumter and Northside-Columbus. Cairo will open the 2018 regular season against Zach Grage and the Thomasville Bulldogs at home.

2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

Total Touchdowns: 9 leading tackler Total Tackles: 56 interception leader Total Interceptions: 5

8-4

Points Allowed: 249

6-1

Head Coach: Steve DeVoursney Years at School: 3 Record at School:

23

Returning Offensive Starters:

12

All-time Record:

151

Points Scored: 300

REGION 1-4A

CAIRO

47

Returning Defensive Starters:

“Your Kind of Bank” 600 N. Broad St. Cairo, Ga 39828

In The Game | 65


REGION 2-4A

Perry

Panthers SCHEDULE 8/17

@

Houston County

8/24

@

Northeast

8/31

-

Westside, Macon

9/7

@

Monroe

9/21

-

Veterans

9/28

-

Upson-Lee

10/5

-

Howard

10/19

@

Spalding

10/26

@

Mary Persons

11/2

-

West Laurens

Photography by: Written by: Phil Jones

Team Leaders

2017 STATS

Lane Rucker

leading passer

2017 Overall Record

Yards: 3,505 leading rusher

Tyrell Owens

Yards: 1,257 leading receiver

Davion Ross

Yards: 1,121 leading TD scorer

Jay Watkins

5-5

Total Touchdowns: 35 leading tackler

Keinijus King

K. Thomas, K. Whitlock, K. King

Total Tackles: 100 interception leader Total Interceptions: 3

2017 Region Record

Head Coach: Kevin Smith Years at School: 1 Record at School: 5

5 Points Scored: 243 Points Allowed: 237

66 | itgnext.com

1-4

When Kevin Smith took over as the new head coach at Perry before the start of last season, he spoke of building consistency. That meant establishing a consistent winning approach to practice, to games on Friday nights, and even consistency with the head coaching position. After all, Smith is the fourth head coach to be hired at Perry in the last seven seasons. But, after Perry won just nine games over the four years before Smith was hired, last year’s 5-5 record can certainly be looked upon as a start toward a consistent future. That included a 4-1 start to the season last year. Now with some stability established at Perry, Smith can concentrate on making 2018 even better. The upcoming season will see the Panthers start out with cross-county rivals Houston County on opening night of the season, with a mid-season game against Veterans looming. Smith and the Panthers will close out the regular season with an important home game versus West Laurens – important because Panther fans, players, and the head coach are hoping there will be at least one more game that would mean a rare treat for Perry: a trip to the state playoffs. Perry fans have waited for a season to truly get excited. 2018 may just be the year.

Players To Watch

QB

C

WR/FS

Lane Rucker

KT Thomas

Malik Mullins

CB

RB

Davion Ross

Tyrell Owens


2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

4-4

5-6 Points Scored: 309 Points Allowed: 292

Bobby Dodd Stadium 55,000

Buzzing Into a New Season Written by: Joshua Miller

Georgia Tech’s season did not go as planned in 2017. After finishing 5-6 on the season, the Yellow Jackets look to make a bowl appearance in 2018. Senior quarterback TaQuon Marshall will be leading the Jackets after displaying his exceptional playmaking abilities as a runner in his breakout season. Marshall rushed for 1,146 yards and 17 touchdowns and finished third in the ACC for rushing yards in 2017. But that’s obviously not enough. Marshall is far from a polished passer, and that may be because he initially arrived at Tech as a running back. It doesn’t take long to recognize how well he runs the ball; Marshall rushed for six 100-yard games and even logged 249 yards in a single game. But when a quarterback completes 37.1 percent of their passes on the season, it’s hard to win. There are two sides of the ball, so all the blame should not be placed on Marshall. Tech’s defense was no threat in the trenches last season and rarely made plays in the backfield. Head coach Paul Johnson changed the scenery with newly hired defensive coordinator Nate Woody from Appalachian State. It will be interesting to see how Woody’s 3-4 scheme will improve their defense. The 2018 season should at least end with a bowl appearance for the Yellow Jackets. If they can win the line of scrimmage, apply more pressure defensively, and work on Marshall’s passing mechanics, they should be good to go. But that is always easier said than done.

Head Coach: Paul Johnson Years at School: 10 Record at School: 76

54

All-Time Record: 204

121

Who to Watch DB Juanyeh Thomas DB Christian Campbell DB Jalen Johnson QB TaQuon Marshall RB Jerry Howard

Team Leaders TaQuon Marshall

leading passer

TaQuon Marshall

leading rusher

Ricky Jeune

leading receiver

TaQuon Marshall

leading TD scorer

Victor Alexander

leading tackler

AJ Gray

interception leader

2017 STATS Yards: 927

Yards: 1,146

Yards: 545

Total Touchdowns: 17

Total Tackles: 60

Total Interceptions: 2

In The Game | 67


206 East 4th Street Adel, GA 31620 (229)896-5176 Make us a part of your team.


hornets

SCHEDULE

Photography by: Milla Creationz Photography

Cook Memorial Stadium

Written by: Phil Jones As the Cook High Hornets head into this season, head coach Bobby Jones will welcome back five starters from last year’s second-round state playoff team. The bad news is that’s less than half of the starting 11. But, Cook always finds a way to get it done, as 17 consecutive seasons of advancing to the playoffs attest to. The Hornets will have holes to fill, but spring practice and their game versus Seminole County may have gone a long way toward answering those questions. Trey Williams, who will line up as one of the wingbacks in Cook’s rarely-run Single Wing offense, threw two touchdown passes in the Hornets’ 20-0 win over Seminole. Tyrec Miley also had a big play, a 45-yard touchdown run (that was unfortunately called back due to a penalty). Cook will also have Tony Branding, K.J. Watson, Derekis White, and Jamal McMillan battling for playing time as wingbacks in the backfield. The Hornets brought in former Lowndes assistant and Berrien head coach Bill Cribb to take over as defensive coordinator. Jones ran the defense himself the last three years; under Cribb, the Hornets will return to a more conventional 3-4 scheme. The defensive line will be anchored by 6’5”, 265-pound Trey Smith. Punter Keyshawn Lucy, a Second Team All-Region performer in 2017, is back, but kicker Grant Folsom has graduated. According to Jones, Alex Harrison will join the team from the soccer squad and will compete for the kicking position this season. If the Hornets replace the loss of Darius Cleveland and Bobby Griffin in the offensive backfield, they are looking at another year of postseason football.

Head Coach: Bobby Jones

Capacity: 3,200

8/17

-

Westover

8/24

-

Turner County

8/31

@

Early County

9/7

-

Thomas County Central

9/14

@

Appling County

9/21

@

Thomasville

9/28

-

Berrien

10/12

-

Worth County

10/18

@

Monroe

10/26

@

Crisp County

2017 Overall Record Players To Watch

6-6 2017 Region Record

Years at School: 3 Record at School: 18

SCHEDULE

REGION 1-3A

cook co.

QB

RB/MLB

K

Trey Williams

Tyrec Miley

Alex Harrison

P

FS/RB

Keyshawn Lucy

Jamal McMillan

16

Points Scored: 307

3-1

Points Allowed: 329

510 N Parrish Ave Adel, GA 31620 (229) 896-2797 Therapy Associates of Georgia Physical Therapy & Fitness Center In The Game | 69


cougars SCHEDULE

Photography by: MIlla Creationz Photography

Cougar Den

Written by: Phil Jones Since going 3-7 in 2015, the Crisp County Cougars have become a force in not only Region 1-3A, where they have gone undefeated the past two seasons, but in the entire class. That includes 2016, when Crisp finished 13-1 and came within a game of playing for a state championship. Looking at the upcoming season, Crisp should contend for another region championship and maybe more. The Cougars return seven starters from both sides of the ball, including seasoned, experienced players at several key positions. Crisp will have starting quarterback Patrick Felton back for a fourth straight year under head coach Brad Harber. He’ll be protected by returning three-year starter Clifton Mercer at left tackle. Beside Mercer on the line will be junior Colton Oliver, an All-State selection last year at left guard. Wide receiver Kentevious Spivey also returns. In the 3-4 defense, Crisp will be led by linebackers Camion Snead and Ahdarrious Gee. Kicker/punter Adam Posey graduated and is a preferred walk-on at Kennesaw State. According to Harber, there is still no clear-cut replacement for the kicking or punting chores, one of few areas that Crisp has left unanswered. According to Harber, the Cougars’ strength heading into 2018 will be their leadership and experience. Look for Crisp County to keep rolling right along at or near the top of Region 1-3A in 2018.

Team Leaders Myles Napier Jammie Robinson TJ Ming Jammie Robinson Rakim Hardick Bread Armstrong

2017 STATS

SCHEDULE 8/17

-

Americus-Sumter

8/24

@

West Laurens

8/31

-

Dutchtown

9/7

@

Tift County

9/14

-

South Gwinnett

9/21

@

Bainbridge

9/28

-

Thomasville

10/12

-

Monroe

10/19

@

Worth County

10/26

-

Cook

Players To Watch

CB/WR

LT

DT/NG

Kentevious Spivey

Clifton Mercer

Camion Snead

QB

MLB/OLB

Patrick Felton

Ahdarrious Gee

2017 Overall Record

9-2 2017 Region Record

leading passer Yards: 1,049 leading rusher Yards: 1,056 leading receiver Yards: 515 leading TD scorer

Head Coach: Brad Harber Years at School: 2 Record at School:

22

Total Touchdowns: 23 leading tackler

3

4-0

Points Scored: 405

Total Tackles: 100 interception leader Total Interceptions: 4

REGION 1-3A

crisp co.

Points Allowed: 139

Returning Offensive Starters:

Returning Defensive Starters:

In The Game | 71


REGION 1-3A

worth co.

rams SCHEDULE

Photography by: Milla Creationz Photography

Milt Miller Field

Written by: Phil Jones

Capacity: 5,000 8/17

@

Turner County

8/24

-

Dooly County

8/31

-

Tift County

9/7

@

Early County

9/14

-

Rutland

9/28

@

Fitzgerald

10/5

-

Thomas County Central

10/12

@

Cook

10/19

-

Crisp County

10/26

@

Monroe

Players To Watch

QB

WB/DB

LB/RB

Jordan Curry

Montavious Buford

Tay McCullough

DE

LB

Gavosky Peterson

Tevin Thrower

2017 Overall Record

0-10 2017 Region Record

The Rams are coming off one of the worst seasons ever for the program in Sylvester. Worth finished 0-10 last season, and the 2018 team will only return two starters on offense and six on defense. But, with Frankie Carroll stepping in as the new head coach, fans seem optimistic of a turnaround. Jordan Curry will return as quarterback after missing all of last season following elbow surgery. He’ll be joined in the Worth backfield by seniors Montavious Buford and Tay McCullough, who will both line up at wingback. Curry will also have a familiar target at receiver: sophomore Tayshaun Shipp, the team’s leading receiver last year. Defensively, the Rams will run a 3-3 under Carroll and will count on the unit’s speed to compensate for the youth that will line up on Friday nights. Worth will have returning starters Gavosky Peterson at defensive end and Tevin Thrower at linebacker. Worth also welcomes first-year player Chris Farley to the team. Carroll said that although Farley – a senior – is new to the game of football, he is excited about what he’s shown in the offseason so far. The newcomer can “run like a deer” and will man the safety position with an imposing 6’3” frame. The Rams will be young in 2018, but expect Worth to show improvement under Carroll this season.

Head Coach: Frankie Carroll Returning Offensive Starters:

0-4

Returning Defensive Starters:

Points Scored: 125 Points Allowed: 458

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REGION 1-2A

berrien

rebels SCHEDULE

Photography by: Wenda G Bailey

Berrien High Football Stadium

Written by: Phil Jones 8/17

@

Irwin County

8/24

@

Atkinson County

8/31

-

Bacon County

9/7

-

Wilcox County

9/21

-

Brantley County

9/28

@

Cook

10/5

@

Fitzgerald

10/19

-

Thomasville

10/26

@

Early County

11/2

-

Brooks County

Players To Watch

The Berrien County Rebels will begin another season with a new head coach. Bill Cribb, who took over from Ed Pilcher, left the program after two seasons. Welcome in Tim Alligood, who comes from Coffee County after two years on Robbie Pruitt’s staff. This will be Alligood’s first stint as a head coach, but he’s not a stranger on the Berrien High campus or sidelines; he spent three seasons as defensive coordinator under Pilcher previously at Berrien. With new offensive coordinator Lee Dorsett joining the staff from Appling, the Rebels will run the Wing-T. One big stud returning to run the ball in the new offense will be Ja’Marquis Johnson, who is receiving a lot of attention from top notch programs. Also back to help the new staff will be Titan Blevins, Nijia Barron, Brian Carter, Gerrick Johnson, and Chandler Johnson, a three-year starter. Who will run the offense remains a question. According to Alligood, three players are all competing to be the guy at quarterback: seniors Tanner Adams and Daniel Griffin, along with sophomore Michael Tucker. On defense, Alligood will run the 4-3 look and will have five starters back, including lineman Jaden Wheeler, who, according to Alligood, “will be a big one.” Berrien finished 4-7 overall last year, including a 1-3 mark in Region 1-2A, where they were the No. 4 seed. They lost to Benedictine in Round 1. Berrien will kick off the 2018 season against Irwin County.

TE/DE/DT

CB/WR

WR/FS

Jaden Wheeler

Brian Carter

Ja’marcus Johnson

DB/CB

T

Gerrick Johnson

Chandler Johnson

2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

4-6

1-3

Points Allowed: 271 Points Scored: 150

Returning Offensive Starters:

Head Coach: Tim Alligood

Returning Defensive Starters:

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In The Game | 75


2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

3-5

7-6 Points Scored: 362 Points Allowed: 276

Doak Campbell Stadium 79,560

Ready for New Beginning

Head Coach: Willie Taggart

Written by: Joshua Miller

Years at School: 1 All-Time Record: 47

50

Who to Watch QB Deondre Francois RB Cam Akers DT Marvin Wilson QB James Blackman DE Joshua Kaindoh

Team Leaders

2017 STATS

James Blackman

leading passer

Cam Akers

Yards: 1,024

leading rusher

Myqwan Murray

Yards: 604

leading receiver

Auden Tate

leading TD scorer

Total Touchdowns: 10

Matthew Thomas

leading tackler

Derwin James

interception leader

76 | itgnext.com

Yards: 2,230

Total Tackles: 85

Total Interceptions: 2

In 2017 Florida State was bound to have a strong season under rising star Deondre Francois. Unfortunately, those hopes were swiftly crushed by an Alabama defense in the first week of the season. In the season opener, Francois suffered a patellar tendon injury in his left knee and had to sit out for the rest of the season. It all went downhill from there. Freshman backup James Blackman was inserted as the starter, and it was a rough season to watch for Seminoles fans. Weeks before the season ended, head coach Jimbo Fisher was being hounded for his commitment and loyalty to the program. Sure enough, reports surfaced that Fisher would be the new Texas A&M head coach. FSU finished the season 7-6 and 3-5 in ACC matchups. With new coach Willie Taggart, FSU is looking forward to a fresh start. Their schedule this year is like the 2017 schedule; they just don’t have to face Alabama again. It will be interesting to see how Taggart operates this team that still has plenty of NFL talent. However, Taggart’s biggest decision will be his quarterback. With Blackman improving, there will be competition to decide who will be under center in 2018.


TROJANS SCHEDULE

Photography by: Cindy Rewis

Veteran’s Stadium

Written by: Phil Jones

SCHEDULE

Players To Watch

WR Deon Fountain

REGION 1-2A

BROOKS CO.

QB

DE TaeAviion Gray

Jacolby Brown

LB

DE

Tavorious James

Darryl Gallon

Team Leaders Mac Perry Jonathan White Deon Fountain Mac Perry T. Bivins, R. Holden Michael Edmonds

2017 STATS leading passer Yards: 1,150 leading rusher Yards: 1,029 leading receiver

8/17

-

Mitchell County

8/31

@

Clinch County

9/7

-

Bainbridge

9/14

@

Dublin

9/21

@

Thomas County Central

9/28

-

B.E.S.T Academy

10/5

-

Thomasville

10/12

@

Early County

10/26

-

Fitzgerald

11/2

@

Berrien

Brooks County is coming off one of the most successful seasons in recent memory, finishing 12-2 and coming within a game of reaching the state championship. But after a season of dominant performances from their offense, led by QB Mac Perry, the Trojans had no answer for the mighty defense of Rabun County, losing 23-12 to the Wildcats and coming up just short of a trip to the GHSA Class 2A championship game. Head coach Maurice Freeman and staff will return six starters from last year’s offense and five from the defensive side, including the entire defensive line. Anchoring that defensive front will be senior defensive ends TaeAviion Gray and Darryl Gallon. Another senior, inside linebacker Tavorious James, returns as well. On offense the Trojans will miss Perry, but will have experience return at QB. Jacolby Brown, who was thrust into the starting quarterback position after starter Perry went down with a torn ACL in 2016, will be back under center this season. He’ll have senior receiver Deon Fountain as a target. But, according to Freeman, with a bigger and stronger offensive line in 2018, the Trojans will likely run much more than they did last season. Brooks will open the season on the road at Clinch County, the defending Class 1A champions.

2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

Yards: 500 leading TD scorer Total Touchdowns: 16 leading tackler Total Tackles: 59 interception leader

12-2

3-1

Head Coach: Maurice Freeman Years at School: 14 Record at School:

137 191

Total Interceptions: 3

44

All-time Record:

96

Points Allowed: 145

Returning Offensive Starters:

Returning Defensive Starters: Points Scored: 482

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Purple Hurricane SCHEDULE

Photography by: Wenda G. Bailey Photography

Jaycee Stadium

Written by: Phil Jones Tucker Pruitt’s return to Fitzgerald in 2017 was a tough one. Named to replace former head coach Jason Strickland, who left to take the job at Pierce County, Pruitt and his family are quite familiar with the expectations in Fitzgerald. Father Robbie Pruitt had success there as head coach, and the younger Pruitt did also as a player. So, after a 4-7 overall record in his first year as head coach of the Purple Hurricane, Pruitt knows that fans of Fitzgerald football expect the former ‘Cane to take his team back to their winning ways in 2018. He’ll do so with six starters returning on both sides of the ball in 2018. Damien Devine returns at wideout and will also play defensive back. Running backs Ethan Gordon, Roderick Williams, and Quantavious Pugh all return, as do offensive linemen Len Spivey and Jay Reaves. On defense, three of the big guys up front will be back: Tyler Smith, Maucarie Holmes, and Nate Henderson. Behind them will be linebackers Jermon Coley and Pugh, as well as Devine at DB. Junior Alex Martinez returns to handle the kicking duties for the Hurricane. Martinez may also handle punting, although Pruitt said Demarion Dixon and Mario Clark will be in the mix. The Purple Hurricane opens the 2018 campaign on the road in Alma against the Bacon County Pirates.

Players To Watch

QB/CB

OLB

RB

Demarion Dixon

Jermon Coley

Ethan Gordon

OL

RB/OLB

Len Spivey

Quantavious Pugh

REGION 1-2A

FITZGERALD

SCHEDULE

2017 Overall Record

@

Bacon County

8/24

-

Irwin County

8/31

@

Dooly County

9/7

-

Upson-Lee

9/14

@

Dodge County

9/28

-

Worth County

10/5

-

Berrien

10/12

@

Thomasville

10/19

-

Early County

10/26

@

Brooks County

Head Coach: Tucker Pruitt Years at School: 2 All Time Record: 4

4-7

8/17

7

Returning Offensive Starters:

Returning Defensive Starters:

2017 Region Record Points Scored: 313

3-2

Points Allowed: 294

December 2018 South Georgia Football Awards Banquet In The Game | 79


REGION 1-2A

thomasville

bulldogs SCHEDULE

Photography by: Vince Jupiter

Veteran’s Memorial Stadium

Written by: Phil Jones

Capacity: 6,500 8/17

@

Cairo

8/24

-

Thomas County Central

8/31

@

Colquitt County

9/7

-

Everglades, Florida

9/21

-

Cook

9/28

@

Crisp County

10/5

@

Brooks County

10/12

-

Fitzgerald

10/19

@

Berrien

11/2

-

Early County

Players To Watch

The Bulldogs enjoyed a historical 12-1 season last year, winning their first region title since 2007, going undefeated in the regular season for the first time since 1988, and picking up their 700th all-time win (against non other than cross-town rival Thomas County Central). Head coach Zach Grage has certainly restored the pride back to a program that had enjoyed a long history of winning football, including eight state championships and 32 region championships. But, if Grage and the Dogs are going to continue that success into 2018, they’ll have to move on without several big-time contributors from the 2017 squad. That includes quarterback J.T. Rice, leading RB Benjamin Tillman, and a fleet of receivers including Tyler Knuckles, Kevon Shy, and Josh Jones. Returning to lead the Bulldogs this season will be combo running backs Tan Gelin and Malek Miller, who combined for over 20 touchdowns and 1,000-plus yards rushing in 2017. Junior WR Kevin Cochran, who led Thomasville in receiving last season, will also return. On defense, the Dogs should be just fine as they have the Region Player of the Year, DB Karey Lee, returning. He’ll be joined by fellow defenders Jeremiah Powell, Marc Davis, Sedrick Robinson, and Jashawon Thornton. Thomasville kicks off the regular season at Cairo; however, the game to anticipate will be when Thomasville travels to Moultrie to play Colquitt County. Grage was the Packers offensive coordinator under head coach Rush Propst during their 2014 state championship season.

2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

RB

RB

DB

Tan Gelin

Malek Miller

Karey Lee

WR

OLB/SS

Kevin Cochran

Sedrick Robinson

Team Leaders JT Rice Benjamin Tillman III Kevin Cochran

Head Coach: Zach Grage

JT Rice

Years at School: 2

Marc Davis III

Record at School:

12-1

4-0

17

6

Karey Lee

All-Time Record:

21

14

2017 STATS leading passer Yards: 2,665 leading rusher Yards: 817 leading receiver Yards: 879 leading TD scorer Total Touchdowns: 25 leading tackler Total Tackles: 89 interception leader Total Interceptions: 8

Points Allowed: 224 Points Scored: 522

Stephen Gainous, Agent 229-226-7656 stephen@rosecitysf.com 117 W Jefferson St Thomasville, GA 31792 80 | itgnext.com

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2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

3-7

4-7 Points Scored: 243 Points Allowed: 300

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium 88,548

Rebuilding the Gators Written by: Joshua Miller

It is going on eight years since Urban Meyer left Florida as one of the powerhouses in college football. Since his departure, Florida has been a fluctuating program to say the least. They haven’t won a conference championship since Meyer and are losing their prestige quicker than ever. With new head coach Dan Mullen, Gator Nation hopes to put an end to the mediocrity. The Gators are coming off a 4-7 season and need to rebound from it. Luckily for Gators fans, they have the No. 14 ranked recruiting class coming in this year, which is OK given that the team isn’t as strong as it once was. Mullen had a solid career at Mississippi State, finishing with a career record of 6946. But what stands out is his 33-39 SEC record. Florida is an SEC team, and Mullen has only had one season ever (2014) when he had a positive record in the SEC. Mullen will be at a better program, but he still has a ways to go. Will Florida be going to a national title game this year? Probably not. But finishing as a top-15 team in the nation is certainly obtainable.

Head Coach: Dan Mullen 1st Year at School All-time Record: 69

46

Who to Watch LB David Reese RB LaMical Perine DB Chauncey Gardner RB Malik Davis QB Feleipe Franks

Team Leaders Feleipe Franks

leading passer

LaMical Perine

leading rusher

Brandon Powell

leading receiver

2017 STATS Yards: 1,438

Yards: 562

Yards: 406

Feleipe Franks/LaMical Perine

leading TD scorer

David Reese

leading tackler

Total Touchdowns: 9

Total Tackles: 102

Duke Dawson, CJ Henderson

interception leader

Total Interceptions: 4

In The Game | 81


2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

5-3

5 -4 Points Scored: 276 Points Allowed: 188

Bazemore-Hyder Stadium 11,249

Interesting Year in Store for VSU Written by: Joshua Miller

Valdosta State looks like they’re rolling into 2018 with more questions than answers. In 2017, their quarterback situation set them back early in the season. They lost three of their first four games and just couldn’t come back from it. The Blazers finished 5-4 on the season but got something out of it and found a solid quarterback in Rogan Wells. Initially, head coach Kerwin Bell ran a dual-quarterback scheme in which both Roland Rivers and Adam Robles took snaps in games. When Rivers had to undergo surgery, he missed the 2017 season, putting Robles at the helm. Robles quickly lost that starting spot to Rogan Wells, a freshman at the time. This season, Bell must decide who will start. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bell ran a dual-quarterback scheme with Rivers and Wells, but will it be effective? The Blazers also have more aspects in question, like their run game and conservative passing style. Luckily for VSU, the defense is not in question thanks to coordinator Danny Verpaele. The Blazers have the talent to win, that’s for sure. But their success will depend on execution, health, and whoever is taking snaps under center.

Head Coach: Kerwin Bell Years at School: 2 Record at School: 13

Who to Watch LB Sharmaine Washington RB Cedric Hollingshed QB Rogan Wells DB Brandon Roe WR Kenny Benjamin

Team Leaders Rogan Wells

leading passer

Rogan Wells

leading rusher

Dallas Baldner

leading receiver

Rogan Wells

leading TD scorer

Malik Slater

leading tackler

Brandon Roe

interception leader

82 | itgnext.com

7

2017 STATS Yards: 1,397

Yards: 506

Yards: 347

Total Touchdowns: 20

Total Tackles: 68

Total Interceptions: 5


Blazers SCHEDULE

Written by: Phil Jones

Centennial Stadium

The Baconton Charter School Blazers are coming off one of the most successful seasons in their brief history. The Blazers went 3-7 under first-year head coach Randy Grace, including two wins in Region 1-A. The overall record matches the Blazers’ best finish since the school started fielding a football team in 2010, and the two region wins gave the team their best finish in region play since starting a region schedule in 2013. Now entering season two as head coach, Grace is seeking to build a winner at Baconton after leading St. Anne-Pacelli for six years. Seniors Zeke Deen and Hunter Bowles will lead the team. Deen will see action again this season at wide receiver and defensive back, while Bowles (First Team All-Region last year) will anchor a 4-4 defense at middle linebacker. Grace said he will also depend on underclassmen to help lead the team. Junior Caleb Jones and sophomore Darian Williams will be counted on to run the football in the Blazers’ Double Wing offense. They should have success in the run game with an experienced offensive line returning. All but one starter will be back in 2018. They’ll also be called on to protect any one of four quarterback prospects vying for the starting job, including Deen; Williams; Smith Pinson, a 6’3” sophomore; and freshman Landon Jones. Special teams gets a boost with All-Region selection Jackson Bostick returning as punter. Moving forward is Grace’s main goal. “Reaching that first non-losing season in school history is a process, and we can see glimpses of really good things to come,” he said. “We have to stay focused on the little things, and the big things will come.”

Team Leaders Damian Williams Max Deen Caleb Jones Max Deen Hunter Bowles Darian Johnson

REGION 1-1A

Baconton Charter

SCHEDULE 8/17

@

Pataula Charter

8/30

-

Pelham

9/7

-

Seminole County

9/14

@

Mitchell County

9/28

@

Randolph-Clay

10/5

@

Miller County

10/12

@

Terrell County

10/19

-

Stewart County

10/26

-

Chattahoochee County

11/2

@

Calhoun County

2017 Overall Record

Players To Watch

QB

RB/LB

OLB/WB

Smith Pinson

Caleb Jones

Darian Williams

WR

MLB

Zeke Deen

Hunter Bowles

3-7 2017 Region Record

2017 STATS leading passer Yards: 145 leading rusher Yards: 842 leading receiver Yards: 59 leading TD scorer Total Touchdowns: 6 leading tackler Total Tackles: 95 interception leader Total Interceptions: 3

Head Coach: Randy Grace

2-7

Years at School: 2 Record at School: 3

7 Points Scored: 158 Points Allowed: 265

Benifits of Planks 1. Tighter Tummy 2. Improved Flexibility 3. Improved Balance and Posture 4. Reduced Back Pain 5. Improved Mood

In The Game | 83


REGION 2-1A

clinch co.

panthers SCHEDULE

Photography by: Cindy Rewis

Donald Tison Field

Written by: Phil Jones

8/17

@

Hebron Christian Academy

8/31

-

Brooks County

9/7

-

Dooly County

9/14

-

Irwin County

9/21

@

Wilcox County

9/28

-

Atkinson County

10/12

@

Turner County

10/19

-

Lanier County

10/26

@

Charlton County

11/2

-

Telfair County

Players To Watch

If opponents expected the Clinch County Panthers to be rebuilding heading into the 2018, they may be a bit disappointed. Head coach Jim Dickerson’s squad will return all but two of their starters on offense, while the defense will be looking to fill quite a few holes from players lost to graduation. Offensively, Clinch returns the entire offensive line, led by CJ Gwynn and Trezman Marshall is back to lead the team. Last season, Marshall was used at RB and LB and this year will be asked to play those positions and more. Marshall will take the reigns at QB, replacing Charles McClelland. The only other offensive starter not returning is Dexter McNeil. Defensively, Clinch loses NG Reggie Williams; DE John Mincey, who signed with Tennessee; LB Tahj Williams; and DB Kebrian Grady, who is at West Georgia. One area of need that really came through last season was their kicking game. According to Dickerson, Clinch was forced to go for two almost every time they scored a touchdown or had to go for it on fourth down. Then, the Panthers discovered Zack Robbins and Warren Stovall, who will both be back this season for Clinch. “This was a missing dimension of the game for Clinch County for a long time,” Dickerson said. “We’re thrilled to finally have a kicking game.” Clinch begins the defense of its state title with a home opener versus the Brooks County Trojans.

2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

6 -1

QB

RB/CB

CJ Gwynn

Trezman Marshall

Michael Walker

K/P

FB/MLB

Zack Robbins

Dustin Hendricks

Returning Offensive Starters:

Head Coach: Jim Dickerson Years at School: 14

8-2

T/C

Points Allowed: 127

Record at School:

139

43

Points Scored: 343

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Understanding and Preventing Sudden Cardiac Death in Children and Adolescents Pediatric cardiovascular physicians with Wolfson Children’s Hospital of Jacksonville present at FCAAP program.

It happens unexpectedly – a previously healthy student-athlete dies from sudden cardiac death. The tragedy is often the result of an undiagnosed heart problem. Understanding and preventing sudden cardiac death is an essential topic in pediatric medicine. The Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics recently hosted a program titled “The Future of Pediatric Practice Regional Glances” in Jacksonville, Florida, on sudden cardiac deaths in adolescents. The FCAAP program speakers were pediatric cardiologist Jose Ettedgui, MD, medical director of the UF Health Pediatric Cardiovascular Center at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, and pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon Michael Shillingford, MD, chief of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at Wolfson Children’s.

“Sudden cardiac death occurs rarely among young athletes,” Dr. Shillingford said. “However, when sudden cardiac death happens in a young person, it is devastating to the teen’s family, friends, school, and community.”

The program, presented to pediatricians and pediatric physician specialists from around the region, focused on cardiology and preventing SCD. Dr. Ettedgui and Dr. Shillingford discussed the importance of screening, treating, and managing problems and preparing for the possibility of sudden cardiac death. It’s also vital to have automated external defibrillators available with the presence of experienced medical personnel in public settings, they said. The use of an AED can lead to an improved outcome to victims of sudden cardiac arrest. “Sudden cardiac death in young athletes may be preventable,” Dr. Ettedgui said. “Screening can help identify at-risk individuals.”

The congenital heart specialists at Wolfson Children’s Hospital have expertise in all pediatric congenital heart procedures, ranging from simple to highly complex. Whether it’s open-heart, minimally invasive, or video-assisted surgery, its board-certified pediatric cardiologists, electrophysiologists, and cardiothoracic surgeons use the most advanced technology and techniques to repair congenital and rhythm-related heart defects. Wolfson Children’s Hospital offers cardiology checkups, comprehensive testing, and pediatric cardiology specialists at each of its outpatient specialty care locations, including Wolfson Children’s at Southeast Georgia Health System in Brunswick, Georgia; Wolfson Children’s at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare; and the Wolfson Children’s Specialty Centers in Daytona Beach, Fleming Island/Clay County, and Lake City, Florida. Contact www.wolfsonchildrens.com/ locations for more information. Wolfson Children’s surgeons know which treatment is best for each child or teen’s situation and when it should be performed. The team uses advanced imaging techniques, including echocardiography, cardiac MRI, and 3D imaging, to help determine the right approach, resulting in some of the best pediatric heart surgery outcomes in the nation. Services at Wolfson Children’s Hospital of Jacksonville, Florida, are provided primarily by pediatric physician specialists with Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Jacksonville, and the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville.

About Wolfson Children’s Hospital of Jacksonville

Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, is a part of Baptist Health, Northeast Florida’s most comprehensive health system serving every stage of life. Wolfson Children’s is the only hospital just for kids in Northeast Florida and serves as the region’s pediatric referral center. Staffed 24/7 by pediatric nurses and other healthcare professionals specially trained to work with children, the 216-bed, patient- and family-centered hospital features the latest pediatric medical technology in a welcoming, child-friendly environment. At Wolfson Children’s, nationally recognized pediatric specialists representing nearly every medical and surgical specialty work with pediatricians to provide care for children of all ages with congenital heart conditions, cancer, neurological disorders, diabetes and endocrinology disorders, orthopaedic conditions, behavioral health conditions, traumatic injuries, and more. Wolfson Children’s pediatric partners include Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Jacksonville; the University of Florida College of Medicine—Jacksonville; and Mayo Clinic Florida. For additional information, please visit wolfsonchildrens.com. In The Game | 85


86 | itgnext.com


indians SCHEDULE

Photography by: Cindy Rewis

Irwin County School System Stad.

Written by: Phil Jones In Ocilla, the Indians are still smarting from their finish in 2017, which saw them host the Class 1A Public championship game due to inclement weather in Atlanta, yet still lose to region foe Clinch County. While head coach Buddy Nobles and his band of Indians are ready to get back at it this season, they’ll have to do so without some big play makers who graduated. That group includes starting quarterback Will Stephens, wingback Reid Fletcher, middle linebacker D.J. Martin, and defensive end Marlon Jackson. “They were all leaders for us, especially Martin, who I considered another coach on the field,” Nobles said. “He got everyone in place on the field.” But, there is good news for Irwin County: They’ll be returning the entire offensive line and a few playmakers who may not ever leave the field. Javon Stanley will see time at running back, wide receiver, and free safety and will return kicks and punts. Davion Pollard will play running back and linebacker and will see time on all special teams. Zach Smith will also stay on the field for extended duty; he’ll start at quarterback and will also kick and punt for Irwin County. Nobles said the Indians’ strength this year will be experience and quickness. Expect Irwin County to use those advantages in being a Class 1A force yet again in 2018.

Head Coach: Buddy Nobles

8/17

-

Berrien

8/24

@

Fitzgerald

8/31

-

Mt. Paran Christian

9/14

@

Clinch County

9/21

@

Telfair County

9/28

-

Charlton County

10/12

-

Lanier County

10/19

@

Wilcox County

10/26

-

Atkinson County

11/2

@

Turner County

2017 Overall Record Players To Watch

12-2

12

2017 Region Record

Returning Offensive Starters:

Capacity: 3,500

SCHEDULE

Years at School: 5 Record at School: 41

REGION 2-1A

irwin co.

QB

WB

DE

Will Stephens

Reid Fletcher

Marlon Jackson

MLB

RB/LB

DJ Martin

Davion Pollard

7-0 Points Scored: 445 Points Allowed: 196

OCILLA

432 Fitzgerald Hwy Ocilla, GA 31774

WWW.LASSETEREQ.COM In The Game | 87


REGION 2-1A

LANIER CO.

BULLDOGS SCHEDULE

Roquemore Stadium Capacity: 2,500 8/24

-

Montgomery County

9/8

@

Tiftarea Academy

9/14

-

Wilcox County

9/21

@

Atkinson County

9/28

-

Turner County

10/12

@

Irwin County

10/19

@

Clinch County

10/26

-

Telfair County

11/2

-

Charlton County

Team Leaders Rashod Brockington Willie Roberson James Green Tyler Alexander Ashton Mcneil Keyonta Williams

L

2017 STATS

leading passer

2017 Overall Record

Yards: 1,203 leading rusher Yards: 399 leading receiver Yards: 583 leading TD scorer

1-9

Total Touchdowns: 5 leading tackler Total Tackles: 54 interception leader Total Interceptions: 2

Points Scored: 191

Written by: Phil Jones The Bulldogs suffered through a one-win season in 2017, but are hoping a handful of returners can change their fortune this year. Kurt Williams will take over for Carl Parker, who is out after two seasons as head coach. Williams comes from Brunswick High, where he was defensive coordinator for the Pirates. Williams will place an emphasis on defense, but will delegate the responsibility to coordinator Will Dettor, who comes from Lake Wier High School in Florida. Together, they will seek to turn around a defense that allowed 39 points per game in 2017. New coordinator Shawn Sharp, who comes in from Pelham, will run the offense. Sophomore Rashod Brockington is back to lead the offense, with juniors Isaiah George and Anelius Dean returning as well. Defensively, Lanier returns Keyontae Hodges and Kyle Sirmans; George will also play on the defensive line. Williams looks forward to righting the ship in Lakeland and is excited about returning a few key pieces in 2018. “Hodges had a stellar season as a cornerback last year, so we look forward to having him back to lead our secondary this season, but Sirmans will lead our defense from his linebacker position,” Williams said. “Rashod will be back at quarterback, and he’ll have some young skill position players to break in at receiver this year.” Lanier County will open the 2018 season at Mt Vernon against Montgomery County.

Players To Watch 2017 Region Record

Head Coach: Kurt Williams 1st Year at School

Photography by: Cindy Rewis

0-7

QB/FS

MLB/LS

DT/C

Rashod Brockington

Isaiah George

Anelius Dean

CB/WR

CB/WR

Keyontae Hodges

Kyle Sirmans

Points Allowed: 349

Returning Offensive Starters:

Returning Defensive Starters:

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88 | itgnext.com

3. Rowing is a total-body workout that uses every major muscle group. At the beginning of each stroke the back muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles are activated.


Pirates

SCHEDULE

Miller County Football Field

Written by: Phil Jones

SCHEDULE

Players To Watch

RB

QB

OLB

Chris Stovall

Kendre’ Nash

Dillan Johnson

RB

DE

Jenaris Byrd

Cameron Crankfield

Team Leaders Dylan Johnson Chris Stovall Hayes Cleveland Chris Stovall GJ Douglas III Roland Godfrey

REGION 1-1A

Miller Co.

2017 STATS leading passer Yards: 758 leading rusher Yards: 1,701 leading receiver Yards: 237 leading TD scorer Total Touchdowns: 23 leading tackler Total Tackles: 131 interception leader Total Interceptions: 3

8/31

@

Terrell County

9/7

-

Mitchell County

9/14

-

Randolph-Clay

9/21

@

Pelham

9/28

@

Chattahoochee County

10/5

-

Baconton

10/12

@

Stewart County

10/19

@

Sneads, Florida

10/26

-

Calhoun County

11/2

@

Seminole County

The Miller County Pirates will head into the 2018 season with seven returning starters on offense, five returning starters on defense, and a new head coach. David Bell will take the reigns in Colquitt after spending last season at Seminole County. He replaces Brent Miller, who departs after three years at Miller County. The Pirates will have some of their big playmakers back, including QB Dillan Johnson, who is also their kicker and punter. Also returning are running backs Chris Stovall and Jenaris Byrd, who are both being heavily recruited by several Division I schools. They’ll have a full complement of returning offensive linemen to run behind, anchored in the middle by center Bry Johnson, along with linemen Kyyarn Busch, Brooks Watson, and Dalton Gowan. What they won’t have is left tackle Joe Hawkins, who graduated and signed with Fort Valley State University. The defense loses six starters from last season’s 9-3 team, including four-year starter at middle linebacker GJ Douglas. His partner at inside linebacker, Austin Dollar, a three-year starter, is also gone. So are both starting corner backs from last season, Jamien Miller and Jevaris Butler. But, there is good news on defense: Returning is outside linebacker/safety Kendre Nash, along with fellow linebacker Roland Godfrey and defensive end Cameron Crankfield. New head coach Bell won’t have long to get acquainted with his new team, but will have two preseason scrimmages to help him figure things out before the games count. Miller County will play Monroe and Deerfield-Windsor before the 2017 Overall 2017 Region regular season opener verRecord Record sus Mitchell County at home.

7-4

6-3

Head Coach: David Bell 1st Year at School

Points Allowed: 183 Points Scored: 344

Returning Offensive Starters:

Returning Defensive Starters:

December 2018 South Georgia Football Awards Banquet In The Game | 89


REGION 1-1A

Mitchell Co.

Eagles SCHEDULE

Photography by: Cindy Rewis

Centennial Stadium

Written by: Phil Jones

8/17

@

Brooks County

8/31

-

Chattahoochee County

9/7

@

Miller County

9/14

-

Baconton

9/21

@

Stewart County

10/5

@

Calhoun County

10/13

-

Seminole County

10/19

@

Terrell County

10/26

-

Randolph-Clay

11/2

@

Pelham

Head Coach: Deshon Brock Years at School: 2 Record at School:

2017 Overall Record

10

2

Players To Watch

QB

RB/MLB WR/OLB

James Thomas

De’shaun Sherman

10-2

Kentrel Williams

WR/CB

MLB/RB

Marcus Collier

Malik Barnes

Team Leaders 2017 Region Record

Points Allowed: 91

90 | itgnext.com

James Thomas James Thomas

9-0 Points Scored: 380

The Eagles roared through last year en route to a region championship over Pelham, defeating the Hornets 22-0. The Eagles then won a thrilling first-round game over Schley County 22-21 before losing to the eventual state champion Clinch County Panthers 21-0. Still, the Eagles finished with a region perfect 9-0 mark and 10-2 overall. Heading into 2018, coach Deshon Brock and staff will look to keep the momentum going, and they’ll have some playmakers returning to make it possible. The eagles return twotime Region 1-1A Defensive Player of the Year Malik Barnes at linebacker. Also back is the majority of the secondary in Marcus Collier, Eric Caison, and Quantavious Hunter. Mitchell County will miss dynamic linebacker Anthony McIntyre, who was a big-time run stopper in 2017 and a big part of a defense that pitched five shutouts. Back to lead the Eagles is quarterback James Thomas, a standout passer and rushing signal-caller as he proved last season by passing for 10 touchdowns and over 1,000 yards while rushing for 16 TDs and close to another 1,000 yards. Thomas will have several big targets to throw to in 2018, as receivers Rodney Jones, Kentrell Williams, and Jada Kiss all return. The biggest question mark the Eagles will have to face offensively is the loss of almost the entire offensive line: Ricky Burley, Jertavious Wimerly, and Devin Hicks were each threeyear starters, and their absences will certainly be missed. Rising junior DeShaun Sherman will return at running back. If Mitchell County can find some big bodies up front, 2018 may be yet another stellar season for the Eagles.

Kentrel Williams James Thomas Malik Barnes Freddie Cheevers

2017 STATS leading passer Yards: 1,026 leading rusher Yards:887 leading receiver Yards: 264 leading TD scorer Total Touchdowns: 16 leading tackler Total Tackles:132 interception leader Total Interceptions: 3


From Camp to the School,

FCA IS READY What a blessing it is to see God at work at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes! We have had the pleasure of beginning two new huddle groups: a Homeschool Huddle that meets at CrossFit on Monday mornings at 8:30 a.m. and a huddle that meets at the Boys and Girls Club on Tuesday afternoons at 4:30 p.m. We have also added two part-time area representatives: Nick Hampton who serves in Brooks County and Stanton Moore who serves in Cook County. We have had a wonderful year, and God has truly blessed our ministry and all who so diligently volunteer and give their time to the students, athletes, and coaches. Camp season was a huge success with 27 dif-

ferent teams participating at various camps, including cheer, baseball, softball, football, basketball, soccer, and leadership camp. Team camps served 1,400-1,500 students this summer. Camps are an excellent source of information so that students and athletes can forge new friendships and learn more about God, how FCA works, and huddle groups. We held a 3D Coaching Clinic on July 13 at the Jennett Lecture Hall on Valdosta State University’s campus. 3Dimensional Coaching is “a curriculum that is based on extensive research regarding different coaching philosophies and the cultural influence of coaches in the lives of the people they impact.” We invited every coach of every sport in and around

Lowndes County to attend. This was the most dynamic seminar a coach has ever attended, and it changed the lives of coaches personally and professionally. The Christ Makes Winners Rally will be held on Sept. 19 at First Baptist Church in Valdosta (200 W. Central Ave.) with everyone welcome to come at 6 p.m. for free food. The doors will otherwise open at 6:20, and the rally will be 6:30-8. Our guest speakers this year will

be various students from various schools giving their testimonies, and the praise band will be Justin Crenshaw and other praise team members. This always prove to be a great way to kick off the new school year. We are looking forward to a great year at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and look forward to the prayers and support of Valdosta and surrounding communities.

To donate to FCA, go to www.fca.org, and prayers are always appreciated!

Web: www.segafca.org Facebook: SEGA FCA


Helping You Celebrate the VICTORIES

“Community Banking at Its Best”

180 Mathewson Ave SW Pelham, GA 31779 pelhambank.com NMLS # 461091

PELHAM 134 Hand Avenue West Pelham, GA

CAMILLA 153 East Broad Street Camilla, GA

BAINBRIDGE 800 East College Street Bainbridge, GA


REGION 1-1A

Pelham

Hornets

SCHEDULE

Pelham High School Football Stadium

Written by: Phil Jones

Players To Watch

QB/FS

RB/MLB

Kendrick Patterson

MLB

Javoris Williams

Malik Mango

WR K/P Jordan Bennett

Doug Curles

Team Leaders Kendrick Patterson

2017 STATS leading passer Yards: 1,890 leading rusher

Javoris Williams

Yards: 575 leading receiver

Jordan Bennett

8/17

-

Macon County

8/24

@

Randolph-Clay

8/30

@

Baconton

9/14

-

Terrell County

9/21

-

Miller County

9/28

-

Stewart County

10/12

@

Chattahoochee County

10/19

-

Calhoun County

10/26

@

Seminole County

11/2

-

Mitchell County

The Pelham Hornets have been knocking on the proverbial door since Dondrial Pinkins took over as head coach in 2015. That first year saw Pelham make the playoffs with a region record of 3-3 and overall 6-4. The following two seasons saw the Hornets take major steps under Pinkins, finishing with consecutive nine-win seasons, including in 2016 when they finished 9-2, won a region title, and won their first-round playoff game in GHSA Public Class 1A. Then, there was last season, when the Hornets again went 8-1 in region play and defeated Towns County in Round 1 of the playoffs before losing to Macon County in Round 2. This year, Pelham brings back six starters on offense and seven on defense. Returning players include quarterback/free safety Kendrick Patterson, a three-year starter; running backs Javoris Williams and Malik Mango; receiver Jordan Bennett; and punter/kicker Doug Curles. Contributors from last year’s squad who won’t return include Michael McGregor, Cameron Jones, and Jordan Solomon. Pelham will open with the team that ended their season last year: Macon County. If Pelham can beat the Bulldogs, it may signal that the Hornets are indeed ready to take that next step towards bigger goals in 2018.

2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

Yards: 498 leading TD scorer

Kendrick Patterson

Total Touchdowns: 38 leading tackler

Javoris Williams

Total Tackles: 105 interception leader

Dewaun Jones

9-3

8 -1

Head Coach: Dondrial Pinkins Years at School: 3 Record at School:

24

All-time Record:

43

Total Interceptions: 5

10 23

Points Allowed: 207

Returning Offensive Starters:

Returning Defensive Starters: Points Scored: 450

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In The Game | 93


REGION 2-1A

turner co.

rebels SCHEDULE

Photography by: Cindy Rewis

Turner County Football Field

Written by: Phil Jones

8/17

-

Worth County

8/24

@

Cook

8/31

-

Taylor County

9/14

-

Telfair County

9/21

@

Charlton County

9/28

@

Lanier County

10/12

-

Clinch County

10/19

@

Atkinson County

10/26

@

Wilcox County

11/2

-

Irwin County

Players To Watch

Its been a long time – too long if you’re a Turner County fan – since the Rebels won a region championship. You’ve got to go all the way back to 2006 to find one. But, if you’re head coach Leroy Hood, there’s a lot to build on at Turner, especially with the recent success the Rebels have enjoyed with three straight trips to the Class 1A state playoffs. Hood is coming off his first season as a head coach. Before coming to Turner, he spent several years as an assistant coach in Arkansas and a single season as defensive backs coach under Ashley Anders at Tift County. Hood’s first stint as head coach was a good one, as he led the Rebels to a 6-5 overall record and 4-3 in region play, good enough for the No. 4 seed and a first-round playoff matchup against Schley. Despite a 14-6 loss, Hood and the Rebels are fired up heading into 2018. That’s because Turner County will return almost everyone from last year’s team: nine starters on offense and defense to be exact. The team will need to fill at least one big pair of shoes: Quarterback Tyler Moore, a threeyear starter and All-Region and All-State selection, graduated and is playing at Fort Valley State University. However, taking his spot will be Demarcus Barnes, who played wide receiver and nickel back last season. He’ll have two returning receivers to throw to in junior Jaterrious Morris and sophomore Keonvay Clark. Adding protection up 2017 Overall 2017 Region front will be returning All-ReRecord Record gion guard Zion Blackshear and center Khadarius Sutton. Aerian Stephens returns at running back. Look for Hood to keep the Rebels playoff bound for a fourth straight season in 2018.

6 -5

Head Coach: Leroy Hood

Points Allowed: 217

Years at School: 2 Record at School:

6

4-3

DE/OLB

WR

G/DT

Quevan Lawson

Jaterrious Morris

Zion Blackshear

QB

RB/CB

Demarcus Barnes

Aerian Stephens

Team Leaders Tyler Moore Tyler Moore Jaterrious Morris Tyler Moore

2017 STATS leading passer Yards: 1,196 leading rusher Yards: 325 leading receiver Yards: 345 leading TD scorer Total Touchdowns: 17

Returning Offensive Starters:

Returning Defensive Starters:

Points Scored: 217

5

December 2018 South Georgia Football Awards Banquet 94 | itgnext.com


warriors SCHEDULE

Photography by: Mary Ann Miller

Warrior Field

Written by: Phil Jones After a 2017 season that saw Brookwood miss the playoffs, head coach Shane Boggs has high hopes for a better 2018 season, with 16 seniors coming back, including 13 total starters. Among those is quarterback Joe Parker, a senior who has thrown for over 3,000 passing yards during his career at Brookwood. Joining him will be senior running back and safety Vincent Yokley; receivers Bridger Middleton and Lance Wortman; and D1 prospect Kurtis Brown, a 6’4” tight end. Kicker Johnathon Burns, who nailed all but one of his field goal attempts last season, will also return. The team will miss nine players to graduation, including three who signed college scholarships: Max Beverly and Carson Allen, who attend Sewannee College, and Adam Davis, who takes his talents to Point University. Boggs said that despite the returners coming back, he still expects battles on the practice field for playing time. “The summer and pre-season will be critical for us,” he said. “We will have competition at many positions, and I’m excited to see the result of that competition.” The Warriors will open the 2018 season on the road against new coach Jimbo Hale and the Westwood Wildcats in Camilla.

Head Coach: Shane Boggs Years at School: 12 Record at School: 79

Team Leaders Joe Parker Vincent Yokley Bridger Middleton B. Middleton, A. Davis Colin Grimsley Nicholas Lauderdale

49

2017 STATS leading passer

SCHEDULE @

Westwood

8/24

-

Lafayette, Florida

8/31

-

Terrell

9/7

-

Notre Dame

9/14

@

Loganville Christian

9/28

@

Heritage

10/5

-

Southland

10/12

@

Deerfield-Windsor

10/19

-

Tiftarea

10/26

@

Valwood

11/2

-

Creekside Christian

Players To Watch WR/TE/OLB

RB/S

WR

Kurtis Brown

Vincent Yokley

Bridger Middleton

K

QB

Johnathon Burns

Joe Parker

2017 Overall Record

4-5 2017 Region Record

Yards: 348 leading receiver Yards: 417 leading TD scorer

Total Tackles: 91 interception leader

Capacity: 1,500

8/17

Yards: 1,523 leading rusher

Total Touchdowns: 3 leading tackler

GISA 3A REGION 3

brookwood

Points Scored: 177

0-4

Points Allowed: 258

Total Interceptions: 2

Side Lunges Stand with your feet and knees together. Take a large step with your right foot to the right side and lunge toward the floor. Make sure your right knee does not extend past your toes and keep your left leg relatively straight. Push off through your right foot to return to the start to complete one. Do three sets of 10 on each side.

In The Game | 95


GISA 3A REGION 3

DEERFIELD-WINDSOR

knights SCHEDULE

Photography by: Mary Ann Miller

Miller County Football Field

Written by: Phil Jones

SCHEDULE 8/17

@

Miller County (S)

8/24

-

Westfield

8/31

@

Glenwood

9/7

-

Heritage

9/14

@

Creekside Christian

9/28

@

Notre Dame

10/5

-

Logansville Christian

10/12

-

Brookwood

10/19

@

Southland

10/26

-

Tiftarea

11/2

@

Vallwood

2017 Overall Record Players To Watch

7-5 2017 Region Record

QB

LB

DL

Jack Kimbrel

Davis Lawson

Matthew Wendland

ATH

DB

John Collier Logan

Ashton Mann

There are only a handful of football programs in the state of Georgia that can boast of the success that Deerfield-Windsor has enjoyed in either GISA or GHSA. The Knights have advanced to the GISA Class 3A semifinals 10 of the last 11 seasons under head coach Allen Lowe. A few key returners may be enough to put the Knights right back in contention in 2018. Lowe and the Knights are delighted to have threeyear starter Jack Kimbrel at quarterback for another season. According to Lowe, the offense will work through Kimbrel. A returner on both sides of the ball (as is customary in GISA) will be athlete John Collier Logan. This 220-pound senior “is strong and can run,” Lowe said. He will surely be counted on to replace tailback Garrett Jones, who is a preferred walk on at UGA. Logan and Kimbrel will have help up front with returning linemen Will Potter, Garrett Smith, and Will Boggus. Defensively, Logan’s great athleticism will be counted on wherever needed most, particularly at defensive tackle. Also returning in 2018 for the Knights defense will be linemen Matthew Wendland and Lawson Gill, along with linebacker Davis Lawson and defensive back Ashton Mann. The Knights open the season at home against The Westfield School Hornets.

Head Coach: Allen Lowe Years at School: 26 Record at School: 204

3 -1

101

All-Time Record: 251

123

Points Scored: 246 Points Allowed: 194

1205 Veterans Pkwy N. Moultrie, GA 31788 2815 Gillionville Rd Albany, GA 31721

southerntractorandoutdoors.com 96 | itgnext.com


Monday- Thursday 4-10 p.m. Friday 4-11 p.m. Saturday-Sunday 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m.- 9 p.m.

Join ITG Ambassadors In 2017, In the Game launched its inaugural Ambassador Program. In the Game Ambassadors exhibit academic excellence, a passion for athletics, outstanding character, and a strong commitment to their schools and communities. As role models, Ambassadors are encouraged to inspire their peers to explore and create new initiatives within their high schools and communities by being a part of In the Game’s mission, which is inspiring your inner athlete toward the passionate pursuit of excellence, on and off the field.

Happy Hour: Monday through Saturday 4-6 p.m.

Join us for lunch this weekend! 1824 Club House Dr. Valdosta, GA 31601 (229)242-4329

Be a part of In the Game’s 2018-19 Ambassador Program! For more information, email us at info@itgnext.com.

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GISA 3A REGION 2

Westfield

Hornets SCHEDULE

Photography by: Mary Ann Miller Written by: Phil Jones

8/24

@

Deerfield-Windsor

8/31

-

Southland

9/7

@

Westminster

9/14

-

Bulloch Academy

9/21

-

John Milledge Academy

9/28

-

Trinity Christian

10/5

@

Frederica Academy

10/12

-

Bethlehem Christian Academy

10/19

-

Augusta Prep Day

11/2

@

Pindewood Christian

-

Players To Watch

QB

LB

T

Garan Daw

CJ Thomas

Tyler Malakius

MLB

RB

Andrew Cullins

Hunter Smallwood

2017 Overall Record

2-9 2017 Region Record

Points Scored: 125

1-3

Points Allowed: 428

Returning Offensive Starters: Head Coach: Jamie Watson

Returning Defensive Starters:

98 | itgnext.com

Westfield, known for years as a Middle Georgia powerhouse, has seen their football program suffer over the past two seasons. A combination of key, experienced players coming of age and graduating at once left the program in the hands of younger, inexperienced players. That has led to a two-win season in 2016 and one-win season in 2017. Now, those freshmen and sophomores are juniors and seniors, and third-year head coach Jamie Watson is hoping that on-the-job training will pay off this upcoming season. Watson and Westfield will have eight returning starters on both sides of the ball. That includes starting quarterback Garan Daw and last year’s leading tackler, linebacker CJ Thomas. Westfield will also have two huge returning offensive linemen to run the football behind. They are Tyler Malakius, a sixfoot-3-inch, 275-pound tackle. His line mate will be Andrew Cullins, who at six-foot-two and 240 pounds gives Westfield some major size along the interior of the offensive line. Running back Hunter Smallwood also returns. According to Watson, Westfield fans are ready to start winning once again. “Expectations are high this year,” Watson said. “There’s no question. We have played a lot of young guys over the last two years, and they’ve had some rough bumps, but they should be ready to handle things now.” Westfield opens the season against Deerfield-Windsor.

7 Medicine Ball Throws to Build Explosive Power 1. Lateral Scoop Toss 2. Lateral Shot Put Throw 3. Stepping Lateral Scoop Toss 4. Wrap Around Toss 5. Chest Pass 6. Overhead Toss 7. Kneeling Overhead Toss


panthers SCHEDULE

Photography courtesy of Marlee Marlowe

Chula Dome

Written by: Phil Jones

Capacity: 2,000

Players To Watch

8/17

-

Creekside Christian

8/24

@

Terrell Academy

9/7

-

Lanier County

@

Loganville Christian

9/28

QB

K

9/21

-

Valwood School

Logan Crosson

Bo Cunningham

10/5

-

Notre Dame

10/12

@

Heritage School

10/19

@

Brookwood School

10/26

@

Deerfield-Windsor School

11/2

-

Southland Academy

RB/S Spence Massey

GISA 3A REGION 3

tiftarea

TE/LB

G/NG

Casen Royal

Quintavious Doward

Points Allowed: 294 Points Scored: 313

Returning Offensive Starters:

Returning Defensive Starters:

Tiftarea Academy enters the 2018 season with a new head coach after Tully Payne left to join former Valwood head coach Ashley Henderson at Thomas County Central. Filling the void is former Turner County and Americus head coach Erik Soliday. According to the new Panther head coach, the Tiftarea job was inviting for a couple of reasons. “I’ve always liked the football talent in this area, and I still live in Ashburn, so the short drive and the appeal of having some good football players were the main reason for taking the job,” Soliday said. Speaking of good football players, Soliday will have a few returning this season. That group includes All-State performer running back/safety Spence Massey, quarterback Logan Crosson, tight end/linebacker Casen Royal, and kicker Bo Cunningham. In total, Soliday will have five returning starters on offense and four on defense. The Panthers will miss a big body in lineman Reece Speight, who graduated. Tiftarea will look to improve on last year’s mark of 6-5 overall and 1-3 in region play. They made the state playoffs as the No. 4 seed out of GISA Region 3-3A, only to fall to Frederica Academy out of St. Simons in the first round. Soliday’s first contest at Tiftarea will be hosting Creekside Christian Academy.

2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

6-5

1-3

Head Coach: Erik Soliday 1st Year at School

TIFTON

3140 South Carpenter Rd Tifton, GA 31793

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VALIANTS SCHEDULE

Photography by: Mary Ann Clark

Goddard Field

Written by: Phil Jones Valwood is coming off another successful season, one that saw the Valiants claim another state championship in 2017. But, Valwood faces some changes heading into the 2018 season, one of which is welcoming a new head coach to lead the team. Ashley Henderson, who led the Valiants football program for the past six seasons, left to take the head coaching job at Thomas County Central. Taking over is former defensive coordinator and brother of A. Henderson, Justin Henderson. J. Henderson was a big part of Valwood’s success, overseeing a defense known for its hard hitting and aggressive play. So, don’t expect to see much of a drop off – if any – with the coaching change. J. Henderson will continue in his defensive role as head coach also. He will have to replace some playmakers on that defense, returning only four starters. Gone are shutdown corners JD Scurry and Cam Walker (named Region Player of the Year in 2016), defensive linemen Isaiah Bristol and Jaharie Boone, and standout athlete Sam Martin. The good news for the new head coach is that Valwood returns several key members of last year’s championship squad, many of whom will see time on both sides of the ball. That group includes starting quarterback Caleb Burns, offensive lineman Lucas Papadopoulos, running back/linebacker Cameron Carter, offensive/defensive lineman Ray Gordon, and linemen Ashton Moorman and Mason Williams. Look for Valwood to be right back in the hunt for another championship in 2018.

Team Leaders Caleb Burns Cameron Carter Cam Walker Caleb Burns Sam Martin Cam Walker

2017 STATS leading passer

Capacity: 3,000

SCHEDULE 8/24

@

Frederica

8/31

-

Notre Dame

9/7

-

North Florida Christian

9/14

-

Heritage

9/28

@

Tiftarea

10/5

-

Creekside

10/12

@

Southland

10/19

@

Loganville Christian

10/26

-

Brookwood

11/2

-

Deerfield-Windsor

Players To Watch

QB

RB

DE

Caleb Burns

Cameron Carter

Ray Gordon

OL

C/NG

Lucas Papadopoulos

Ashton Moorman

GISA 3A REGION 3

VALWOOD

2017 Overall Record

10-3 2017 Region Record

Yards: 2,246 leading rusher Yards: 309 leading receiver

3 -1

Yards: 917 leading TD scorer Total Touchdowns: 33 leading tackler

Points Scored: 383

Total Tackles: 99 interception leader

Points Allowed: 115

Total Interceptions: 2

Head Coach: Justin Henderson

Returning Defensive Starters:

1st Year at School

In The Game | 101


GISA 2A REGION 2

Westwood

Wildcats SCHEDULE Westwood Stadium

Written by: Phil Jones

SCHEDULE 8/17

-

Brookwood

8/31

@

Toombs Christian Academy

9/7

@

Piedmont

9/15

-

Windsor Academy

9/21

-

Gatewood

10/5

@

Southwest Georgia Academy

10/12

-

Dominion Christian

10/19

@

Flint River Academy

10/26

@

Terrell Academy

11/2

-

Crisp Academy

Head Coach: Jimbo Hale 1st Year at School

2017 Overall Record

2-9

Players To Watch

QB

RB

OLB

Albert Stringer

Zach Howell

Caleb Griner

QB 2017 Region Record

After finishing 2-9 last season with a 0-2 region record, the Westwood Wildcats are heading in a different direction with a new head coach in town. Westwood has hired Jimbo Hale as the new head football coach and athletic director. Hale comes from Tiftarea Academy, where he was defensive coordinator, and will inherit a team with only 26 players. That’s the bad news. The good news is that he will have 12 seniors to build around. Included in that group is senior Zach Howell, who played quarterback last year, but will move to running back in 2018. Newcomer Albert Stringer and Brantley Shiver, who played quarterback some last year, will compete for the quarterback job. Slater Stringer and Howell will be the primary running backs in 2018. While the numbers aren’t where Hale would like them just yet, the new head coach feels like things will improve. “We have a new weight room, and we need to get in there and work,” Hale said. “We’ve got some really good leadership with our seniors and some younger guys that are ready to play. This school has a lot of history and tradition, and they bleed orange here. I feel pretty good about the future at Westwood.” The Wildcats will host Brookwood in their season opener.

Rushing Yards

Brantley Shiver

2017 Leaders Kareem Hunt 1327 yrds CHIEFS

Todd Gurley II 1307 yrds

0-2

Falcons

Le’Veon Bell 1291 yrds Steelers

Points Scored: 122 Points Allowed: 313

102 | itgnext.com


2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

4-2

6-4 Points Scored: 272 Points Allowed: 201

Albany State University Coliseum 10,000

RAMbunctious Written by: Joshua Miller

The Albany State Golden Rams are coming off a 6-4 2017 season in which they went 4-2 in SIAC play. They have been steady with their past records, but they missed out on a bid to compete for the national championship. Golden Rams quarterback Chancellor Johnson had a decent freshman year, passing for 1,264 yards and 10 touchdowns in nine games. Johnson’s passing was balanced with the two-headed monsters McKinley Habersham and Kelan Fraise, both playing running back. Habersham tallied 850 yards and 8 touchdowns; Fraise had 627 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns. The Golden Rams will bring in new faces entering the 2018 season. Denares Waites and Travian Robertson have joined the staff, Waites at co-defensive coordinator and Robertson as a defensive-line coach. Waites comes from Carson-Newman University, where he was an assistant coach. Robertson was a graduate assistant at Georgia State University and also spent time playing in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks, and Washington Redskins. The Golden Rams will open their season at South Georgia rival Valdosta State University. This will be a season that the Rams should look to escape from their stiff progress in hopes of having a breakout season.

Head Coach: Gabe Giardina Years at School: 1 Record at School: 6

4

Who to Watch LB Zavondric Shingleton OL Jamie Glenn DB Jaylin Boyd RB McKinley Habersham LB Marquez Thomas

Team Leaders

2017 STATS

Chancel Johnson

Yards: 1,264

leading passer

McKinley Habersham

leading rusher

Mike Green

Yards: 850

Yards: 597

leading receiver

McKinley Habersham

leading TD scorer

Emmanuel Brown

leading tackler

Jalen Bush

interception leader

Total Touchdowns: 8

Total Tackles: 79

Total Interceptions: 3

In The Game | 103


2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

2-6

2-10 Points Scored: 250 Points Allowed: 386

Paulson Stadium 24,300

Moving Forward Written by: Joshua Miller

In 2017 the Eagles welcomed in new head coach Chad Lunsford in the midst of an 0-6 season. Southern went on to win just two games last year after Lunsford took over, finishing 2-10. Now this season is completely under his command, and the Eagles are ready to see winning seasons. It’s clear that their repertoire is running the ball. Southern ran the ball 644 times out of the 839 offensive plays called last season, so it’s no secret that they might be run heavy in 2018. Although, with both their running backs and quarterback being threats on the ground, attacking the air may become a bit easier. Georgia Southern’s receiving corps finished 2017 in embarrassing fashion to say the least. In an era where passing is a priority, the Eagles did not have one receiver to average at least 30 receiving yards a game. Therefore, this year is a chance for sophomore quarterback Shai Werts to show his maturation in the pocket after a freshman campaign in which he ran the ball over 200 times. The Eagles will have a roster deep with veterans and a new swagger now that Lunsford is in command. Even after a disappointing 2-10 season, it doesn’t seem unreasonable for the Eagles to at least break even and finish 6-6 in 2018.

Head Coach: Chad Lunsford Years at School: 1 All-Time Record: 2

4

Who to Watch QB Shai Werts CB Monquavion Brinson CB Kindle Vildor RB Wesley Fields DE Deshon Cooper

Team Leaders

2017 STATS

Shai Werts

Yards: 929

leading passer

Wesley Fields

Yards: 811

leading rusher

Malik Henry

Yards: 268

leading receiver

Wesley Fields & La Ramsby

leading TD scorer

Total Touchdowns: 6

RJ Murray

leading tackler

Total Tackles: 58

Monquavion Brinson

interception leader

104 | itgnext.com

Total Interceptions: 5


GENERALS SCHEDULE

Photography by: Written by: Phil Jones Since adding football back to their athletic program in 2014, the Georgia Christian Generals have gone through a few changes. That includes three different coaches in the first four seasons. However, before last year, the school decided to take a different approach toward its football program. They decided to move from GISA to the Georgia Independent Christian Athletic Association. The school also decided to make a move to become more competitive on the football field and sought out a more experienced football coach. That led to the hiring of Crosby Tuck, who came from Pea Ridge High School in Arkansas. Tuck led the Generals to a perfect 3-0 region record in the GICAA South Region, a 6-5 overall record, and a trip to the second round of the state playoffs. But after just one year in Dasher, Tuck went back to Arkansas to coach with a former college teammate. That leaves Georgia Christian searching for yet another head coach for the 2018 season. Whoever the new coach is, he will inherit several key returners from the 2017 team. That includes QB Will Copeland, WR Logan Hornsby, MLB/FB Grant Copeland, and Sam Wheeler at CB/WR. Sophomore Dante Sacco will also be back. The Generals and their new head coach will open their second season in the GICAA against LaFayette Christian at home.

8/24

-

Lafayette Christian

8/31

@

Munroe

9/7

-

Skipstone Academy

9/21

@

Avant Garde Academy

9/28

@

Central Christian

10/5

-

Central Fellowship Christian Academy

10/12 @ 10/19

-

10/26 @ 11/2

-

Hancock Academy St. Johns Country Day Sherwood Christian Academy Fullington Academy

2017 Overall Record

Players To Watch

QB

WR

MLB/FB

Will Copeland

Logan Hornsby

Grant Copeland

CB/WR

RB/CB

Sam Wheeler

Christian Johnson

GICAA South DII

GA CHRISTIAN

6-5 2017 Region Record

Tom Brady, 4577 yrds Philip Rivers, 4515 yrds

3-0

Matthew Stafford, 4446 yrds Points Scored: 278 Points Allowed: 264

December 2018 South Georgia Football Awards Banquet In The Game | 105


REGION 1-5A

Harris co.

Tigers SCHEDULE

Photography courtesy of hctdclub.com

REGION 1-4A

Tiger Stadium

Written by: Beth Welch

8/17

@

Carver, Columbus

8/24

-

Westside, Macon

8/31

@

Upson-Lee

9/7

-

Troup County

9/14

-

Russell County, Alabama

9/21

-

Northside, Columbus

10/5

-

Warner Robins

10/12

@

Veterans

10/19

-

Thomas County Central

10/26

@

Bainbridge

2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

5-6

2-2

One of the last coaching vacancies to be filled in the Columbus Valley area came in May when Jamie Fox was named head football coach at Harris County High School. There has been upheaval in many local football programs, but the Tigers are fortunate. Fox is a six-year HCHS coaching staff veteran. A former head coach, Fox’s promotion provided an easy transition and familiarity. The Tigers may not have players the likes of former HCHS athletes Taquon Marshall and Tae Crowder, but Fox thinks his 2018 team has the best group of skill players he has seen in his time there. Six returning offensive starters and eight returning defensive starters will anchor Fox’s team this fall. They should improve upon last year’s 5-6 record and perhaps repeat performances like that against G.W.Carver. “The double overtime win against Carver was a great way to start the season,” Fox said. “Our kids fought their tails off and came out on top.” The Tigers are looking for leaders to step up and also need to get stronger in order to play four full quarters against some reputable opponents. With Fox taking over, there is a noticeable confidence among players, which could lead the more balanced and aggressive team into a 2018 playoff run.

Players To Watch

QB

RB

WR

Davion Mahone

Cal’von Harris

TJ Pass

Head Coach: Jamie Fox

1st Year at School

C.W. Carver

Tigers SCHEDULE

Photography courtesy of carvertigerfootballclub.wordpress.com

A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium Capacity: 15,000 8/17

-

Harris County

8/24

-

Spencer

9/7

@

Hardaway

9/14

-

Dougherty

9/21

@

Columbus

9/28

-

Northside, Columbus

10/5

@

Cairo

10/12

-

Westover

10/18

-

Shaw

11/2

@

Americus-Sumter

Written by: Beth Welch

Players To Watch

OLB/DE

DT

WR

Keandre Harper

Dacorrion West

Ja’Cyais Credle

106 | itgnext.com

2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

3-8

3-4

The G.W. Carver Tigers have had difficulty keeping a head coach in recent years, but new hire Corey Joyner talks like a veteran staff member. “We were in almost every game that we played, but worked against ourselves with mental breakdowns at critical times that hindered us from achieving our ultimate team goal of winning,” Joyner said. “We plan on putting emphasis on paying attention to detail and sustaining focus and effort for four quarters.” Joyner coached at Dougherty County for six years prior to coming to Carver. He was announced as the Tigers head football coach in February and quickly brought new optimism and energy to the program. The Tigers may not roar back to a place of prominence in Joyner’s first season, but it should be the beginnings of better times. Last season’s 3-8 record was not typical for Carver, but the Tigers defeated Hardaway to capture a playoff spot, and this 2018 team has a lot of that talent back but with more experience. “We have returning guys in our front seven on defense that we feel can dominate a game,” Joyner said. “If I had to identify a strength this early, it would be that group of guys.”

Head Coach: Corey Joyner

1st Year at School


Blue Devils

SCHEDULE

Photography courtesy of chsdevilsfootball.com

Kinnett/Memorial Stadium

REGION 1-4A

Columbus

Written by: Beth Welch There was a lot of promise for the Columbus High School Blue Devils going into the 2017 season, but key losses early on, including their quarterback in Game 4, dealt a huge blow to the team. Combined with many frustrating penalties and a lack of third-down conversions, the Blue Devils experienced a disappointing 3-7 season. This year, however, Columbus has good reason to be hopeful. Head coach Phil Marino will be back for his ninth season and has a roster filled with 23 seniors, the most since 2010. Marino will also have quite a tally of returning athletes. Eight returning offensive starters and nine returning starters on defense will be the foundation of the team. This all adds up to a big plus in the “experience” column for the Blue Devils. Sometimes experience can use a dose of enthusiasm, and Marino’s team will get a boost by the addition of some “energetic young coaches” to his staff. The excitement is building for the Blue Devil Nation, and it includes Marino’s goals of winning region for the first time in four decades and make the playoffs. Columbus may have all the right stuff for a big Orange and Blue season.

Head Coach: Phil Marino

Years at School: 9 Record at School:

26

2017 Overall Record

3-7

2017 Region Record

2-5

68

8/17

-

Spencer

8/30

@

Troup County

9/6

-

Westover

9/21

-

Carver, Columbus

9/28

@

Cairo

10/5

-

Americus-Sumter

10/11

@

Shaw

10/19

-

Hardaway

10/25

@

Dougherty

11/2

@

Northside, Columbus

Players To Watch

QB

DB/WR

C

Donovan Carter

Ian Rome

Bayard Taylor

Hawks SCHEDULE

Photography courtesy of hardawayathletics.com

Kinnett/Memorial Stadium

Written by: Beth Welch Hindsight is 20/20, and looking back is not a bad thing if the take away improves future performance. The Hardaway High School Hawks are hoping a few tweaks from the 2017 playbook and a renewed focus will be the keys to success in 2018. Hardaway head coach Michael Woolridge is entering his third year of a rebuilding program at his alma mater and is expecting major results. Last year his team was 4-6 on the season, 3-4 in Region 1-4A. The good news for the 2018 season is Hardaway will be returning five starters on offense and seven starters on defense. The Hawks plan to take one game at a time, though, operating as a unified team rather than relying upon specific individuals. “We have a great group of kids this year work their butts off and are focused on team goals rather than personal stats,” Woolridge said. Strengths include leadership and team cohesiveness. Woolridge hopes those traits pay off when it comes to playing four quarters of grinding football in a tough region. “We are placing a lot of emphasis on situational football this year, where we learn to finish games,” Woolridge said.

Head Coach: Michael Woolridge

Years at School: 3 Record at School:

9

10

8/23

-

Kendrick

8/31

@

Fayette County

9/7

-

Carver, Columbus

9/14

@

Cairo

9/21

-

Americus-Sumter

9/27

@

Shaw

10/12

@

Dougherty

10/19

@

Columbus

10/26

-

Northside, Columbus

11/1

-

Westover

Players To Watch

QB

WR

RB/WR

Dominqiue Ford

Jon Stephens

Ja’Ron Early

REGION 1-4A

Hardaway

2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

4-6

3-4

In The Game | 107


REGION 1-4A

Northside, Columbus

Patriots SCHEDULE

Photography by: George McDuffie

REGION 1-4A

Kinnett Stadium

Written by: Beth Welch

8/23

-

Shaw

8/31

-

Spencer

9/7

-

Cairo

9/14

@

Westover

9/21

@

Harris County

9/28

@

Carver, Columbus

10/4

-

Dougherty

10/12

@

Americus-Sumter

10/26

@

Hardaway

11/2

-

Columbus

2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

8-3

5-2

Players To Watch

RB

OL

DB

Fred Davis

Jason Webb

Tucker Copeland

Last season was a great year for the Northside High School Patriots. The 2017 football team matched the highest win total in the program’s history, made the playoffs for the fourth straight year, and went undefeated in the city of Columbus. Several seniors signed to play at the next level, including top prospect Caleb Johnson, a DL/LB who committed to Auburn. Then, head football coach Morgan Ingram announced he was resigning after five years of leading the program. Ingram remained as the school’s athletic director and was instrumental in naming his successor, David Nurnberg, whom Ingram coached during his days at Columbus High School. Fortunately for Nurnberg, he inherits a team that will feature seven returning starters on offense and five defensive starters. Among those starters is quarterback Chandler Blanton, whose 2017 debut enables him to return as a more experienced and tested leader of the team. Nurnberg said that one lesson his team learned last year might seem a bit simplistic, but it was necessary in a region where there is no shortage of talent and grit. “We found out that we’re a team who believes we can win and has the level of commitment to make that happen,” he said.

Head Coach: David Nurnberg

Shaw

Raiders SCHEDULE

Photography courtesy of hudl.com

Kinnett Stadium

Written by: Beth Welch

8/16

-

Kendrick

8/23

@

Northside, Columbus

9/6

-

Dougherty

9/14

@

Americus-Sumter

9/27

-

Hardaway

10/5

@

Westover

10/11

-

Columbus

10/18

@

Carver, Columbus

10/26

-

Cairo

11/2

@

LaGrange

Players To Watch

QB

ATH

OT

Wason Davis, Jr.

Andrew Lacy

MJ Cooks

108 | itgnext.com

2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

1-9

0-7

Head Coach: Al Pellegrino

Sometimes coaches have seasons where it seems everything works against them. The Shaw High School Raiders encountered numerous obstacles in the fall of 2017 that led to a 1-9 record. “Last year we never had the same lineup due to team suspensions, injuries, and position changes,” Al Pellegrino, Raiders head football coach, said. Shaw also had a very young team, but sometimes weaknesses can turn into strengths. Pellegrino said his ninth-grade quarterback played nine of their 10 games last season, which means he gained a lot of experience under fire. That will definitely play in the Raiders’ favor this fall. Several underclassmen saw playing time, too. Those players will be back with battle-tested confidence this season. Pellegrino knows his young team hasn’t fully grown up, but his defense should be capable. One challenge out of Pellegrino’s control is the seven teams on the Raiders’ schedule that have new coaches. That means it will take some time to discover their on-field schemes. Look for Shaw to most likely have another character-building season but with some bright spots. The Raiders are accustomed to playing Pellegrino’s game plan after two years, and that stability could make a real difference this fall. Record at School: Years at School: 2

1

9


Cherokees SCHEDULE

Photography courtesy of ledger-enquirer.com

Memorial Stadium

Written by: Beth Welch Kendrick High School is one of the seven schools in the Columbus Valley area that named a new head football coach for 2018. Andre Slappey was tapped as head football coach for the Cherokees back in February. The position at Kendrick gives Slappey, who played college football at Albany State, his first head coaching job. He comes to the Columbus school from Americus-Sumter, where he was an assistant coach for 10 years. Moving from a 4A team to a 3A team will not give Slappey much trouble, but he does face some challenges. The Cherokees haven’t made the playoffs in several years, and last season the team was 1-9 with a roster of many underclassmen. Kendrick’s 2018 team has had to learn a new system for offense under the new coach, and even his staff has had to adjust to working together for the first time. Slappey is aware of the difficult road ahead but is showing optimism about this season. “The team last year was young, and now they are one year older,” he said. “The identity of this team will be competitive and physical for 48 minutes in football, and overtime, if needed.”

Head Coach: Andre Slappey 1st Year at School

Returning Defensive Starters: Returning Offensive Starters:

2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

@

Shaw

8/23

@

Hardaway

8/31

@

Temple

9/7

@

Jordan

9/21

@

Peach County

9/27

-

Rutland

10/5

@

Central, Macon

10/12

@

Jackson

10/18

@

Westside, Macon

11/2

@

Pike County

Players To Watch

1-5

1 -9

8/16

LB/FB

DE/TE

QB/DB

Allandis Boyd

Ali Lambert

Olando Posey

Red Jackets SCHEDULE

Photography courtesy of new.berecruited.com

Kinnett Stadium

Written by: Beth Welch

Head Coach: Joe Kegler 1st Year at School

Returning Defensive Starters: Returning Offensive Starters:

8/17

@

Monroe

8/31

@

Brookstone

9/7

-

Kendrick

9/14

-

Greenville

9/21

@

Lamar County

9/28

-

Temple

10/5

@

Bremen

10/12

-

Heard County

10/25

@

Callaway

11/2

-

Spencer

Players To Watch

QB/CB

RB/LB

WR/CB

Emmanuael Mann

D’Quandre Sullivan

Jaylon Wyatt

REGION 5-2A

Jordan

A new crop of football coaches are putting down roots at high schools in the Columbus Valley. Seven area schools named new head football coaches prior to the end of the 2017-18 school year. One of those, Jordan Vocational High School, gained a new coach but one not new to Columbus. In April, Joe Kegler was announced as head coach for the Jordan Red Jackets football program. Kegler attended Carver High School and spent six years as an assistant football coach there before being named head coach a few years back. He left Carver three years ago and comes to Jordan from Stewart County, where he was an assistant coach the past two seasons. The new Jordan coach inherited a program that hasn’t had a winning season in decades and makes the third head coach in four seasons for the Red Jackets. It’s not all doom and gloom for Kegler and his 2018 team, however. A significant number of talented and dedicated players are returning for Jordan. Kegler is ready to be a head coach again and is familiar with the dynamics of small-school football. Hopefully, he is the key to unlocking the Red Jackets’ potential.

REGION 4-3A

Kendrick

2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

2-8

1 -4

In The Game | 109


REGION 5-2A

Spencer

Greenwave SCHEDULE

Photography by: George McDuffie

Memorial Stadium

Written by: Beth Welch

8/17

@

Columbus

8/24

@

Carver, Columbus

8/31

@

Northside, Columbus

9/7

@

Schley County

9/21

@

Heard County

9/28

-

Lamar County

10/11

@

Callaway

10/19

-

Temple

10/26

@

Bremen

11/2

@

Jordan

2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

5-6

2-3

Players To Watch

WR

DE

QB

Corey Calhoun

Robert Murray

Terrell Gordon

Spencer High School football has been gaining ground and respect over the past few seasons under head coach Pierre Coffey. The Greenwave program, experiencing a rebirth of legacy of days gone by, had a 5-6 record last year. It was comparable to the 2016 record of 6-5 but with one big difference. The 2017 Spencer team defeated rival G.W. Carver for the first time in 18 face-offs. That one win gave the Greenwave hope for the future of their program until it was announced late in the school year Coffey was leaving Spencer for a school district administrative job. In mid-May, Justin Newman was named the new head coach for the Greenwave. Newman spent last season as the head coach of the Jordan Vocational High School football team. He recently came to Spencer as an assistant coach. Football athletes and coaches had just weeks to adjust. Learning new schemes and adapting to the situation was a hurried process. Fortunately, Newman inherits a program with six returning starters on offense and four returning starters on defense. Coffey and Newman both believe in discipline and hard work when it comes to coaching. It’s anybody’s guess what will take place this fall, but the Greenwave have the potential to continue their upward trajectory under Newman’s guidance.

REGION 4-1A

Head Coach: Justin Newman

Brookstone

Cougars SCHEDULE

Photography courtesy of Jeremiah Burgess via hudl.com Written by: Beth Welch

Rex Knight Stadium 8/24

@

Montgomery, Alabama

8/31

-

Jordan

9/14

-

First Presbyterian

9/21

-

Greenville

9/28

-

St. Anne-Pacelli

10/5

@

Marion County

10/12

-

Manchester

10/19

@

Central, Talbotton

10/26

@

Region Crossover

11/2

-

Region Crossover

Players To Watch

RB/OLB

WR/DB

RB/DB

Jeremiah Burgess

Chris Edmonds

William Neal

110 | itgnext.com

2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

5-6

3-2

Head Coach: Blair Harrison

Brookstone head football coach Blair Harrison returned to the Columbus school last season after a few years away. There was a revolving door of coaches in the interim, but it appears the Cougars are back on steady ground. Last season’s 5-6 record was an improvement over 2016, but Brookstone has much greater potential for success in 2018. Seven returning starters on both offense and defense will be the backbone of the Cougars team. Among those talented starters are Jeremiah Burgess (RB/OLB) and Chris Edmonds (WR/DB) who have been patient in their advance to key roles for this season. Strength has been a challenge for Brookstone, but Harrison’s team has worked tirelessly on that front, which should produce good results in the wear and tear of four quarters of play. To that end, Brookstone’s coach thinks his team will have a new identity this season. “Hard-nosed and disciplined,” he said. Marion County and Manchester are always big games for the Cougars, but the hiring of a new defensive coordinator, Mike Huwe, has given the team a better game plan for such opponents. It may be another rebuilding year for Brookstone’s program, but look for the team to be faster and better prepared. Record at School:

78

35

Years at School: 2

Returning Defensive Starters: Returning Offensive Starters:


Panthers

Photography courtesy of chattahoochee.k12.ga.us

SCHEDULE

Written by: Beth Welch High school football coaches face losing seniors from the team every year. For Chattahoochee County High School, the 2018 football will have to fill the holes left by 19 graduating seniors. That’s a big chunk of talent, leadership, and experience to replace. Last year was a good year for head football coach Drew Fowler’s program. The 7-4 season was exciting, especially as ChattCo won four games against opponents who had beaten them the previous year. This fall will be a rebuilding year of sorts, but the Panthers have reason to be optimistic. “Our offensive line will be our most experienced and talented group,” Fowler said. One key member of that offensive line who is returning is Kedrick Harvey, a stable factor for the Panthers his entire high school career. He is joined by returning starters Richard Sims, Chris Robinson, Deandre Masten, and Kyjuan Harris. A common theme running around teams this fall is the need for strength training as opponents are getting stronger and schedules are filled with tough contenders. “We play many talented, athletic teams in our region,” Fowler said. “We must continue to work in the weight room to match the athleticism that we face.”

Head Coach: Drew Fowler

Record at School:

10

11

REGION 1-1A

Chattahoochee co

Panther Stadium

2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

7-4

7-2

Years at School: 2

8/17

@

Terrell County

8/24

-

Marion County

8/31

@

Mitchell County

9/14

-

Calhoun County

9/21

-

Seminole County

9/28

-

Miller County

10/5

@

Randolph-Clay

10/12

-

Pelham

10/26

@

Baconton

11/2

@

Stewart County

Players To Watch

OL

OL

DB

Kedrick Harvey

Richard Sims

Devion Dotson

Eagles SCHEDULE

Photography courtesy of www.ledger-enquirer.com

Marion County Stadium

Written by: Beth Welch Mention high school football in the Columbus Valley and talk always turns to the successful Marion County program. Last year the Eagles only had one loss in region play and finished 9-3 overall. It was a good second season for head coach Chris Kirksey, but the veteran coach never varies from his standards regardless of each season’s outcome. “We are always setting our goals on a region championship and making a deep playoff run,” said Kirksey, who has been coaching football for 24 years. Winning games is big in Marion County, and this season the Eagles are poised for victory with a loaded slate of talented athletes. Their greatest strengths will be at running back and wide receiver with the return of Travon Matthews and Josh Rodgers in those positions, respectively. Kirksey is looking for the running game and sound defense to give the team their identity while working on developing and improving the passing game with junior quarterback Jeff Oakes. Seven offensive starters and seven defensive starters are the building blocks to this 2018 team. If the Eagles stay healthy and play well on both sides of the ball, a region title and playoffs are definitely within reach.

Head Coach: Chris Kirksey

Years at School: 3 Record at School:

16

7

8/17

@

Schley County

8/24

@

Chattahoochee County

9/7

@

St. Anne-Pacelli

9/14

@

Bleckley County

9/21

-

Manchester

9/28

@

Greenville

10/5

-

Brookstone

10/12

-

Central, Talbotton

10/26

@

Region Crossover

11/2

-

Region Crossover

Players To Watch

RB

WR/DB

DL

Travon Matthews

Josh Rodgers

Zack Banks

Returning Offensive Starters:

Returning Defensive Starters:

REGION 4-1A

Marion Co

2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

9-3

4-1

In The Game | 111


REGION 4-1A

St. Anne-Pacelli

Vikings SCHEDULE Deimel Field

Written by: Beth Welch

8/17

-

Landmark Christian

8/24

@

Crawford County

9/7

-

Marion County

9/14

@

Pataula Charter

9/21

-

Central, Talbotton

9/28

@

Brookstone

10/5

@

Manchester

10/12

@

Greenville

10/26

@

Region Crossover

11/2

-

Region Crossover

2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

0-5

0-10 GICAA D1 West

Players To Watch

RB/CB

RB/S

QB

Josef Douglas

Kye Robichaux

Jacob Anderson

The 2017 football season was disappointing for Pacelli High School, but lessons were learned. Now with his first year as head of the Vikings football program and the 0-10 record behind him, coach Mark LeGree is looking forward to the upcoming season. “We will be on a lot of teams’ radars as an easy win, but we will shock some teams this year and gain some respect,” LeGree said. “This team is hungry.” The coach has worked on various components for 2018. He feels the weight training program they began in January has paid off with his athletes becoming “bigger, faster, and stronger,” especially on defense. “The defense is going to be a great tackling defense,” he said. “All 11 will swarm to the ball. They understand the importance defense will have on our success this season.” Some real challenges are ahead for LeGree’s team. They are still a young team and small in numbers. The good news is that LeGree has expanded his six-member staff to nine, he has 13 returning starters, and players have developed trust in their coach. If the Vikings can stay healthy and compete all four quarters, it should be a good season. Returning Defensive Starters:

Head Coach: Mark LeGree

Returning Offensive Starters:

Years at School: 1

Calvary

Knights SCHEDULE

Len McWilliams Field 8/17

@

Crenshaw Christian Academy

8/24

-

Unity Prep

8/31

-

Griffin Christian

9/7

@

Holy Ground Baptist Academy

9/14

@

Georgia Force Christian

9/28

@

Covenant Academy

10/5

@

Skipstone Academy

10/12

@

Lafayette Christian

10/19

-

Community Christian

10/26

@

Life Christian Academy

11/2

-

Holy Spirit Prep

Players To Watch

WR/DB

LB

OG/DL

Aaron Christopher

Will Dyer

Jacob Evangelista

112 | itgnext.com

Returning Offensive Starters:

Photography courtesy of calvaryknights.com Written by: Beth Welch

2017 Overall Record

2017 Region Record

5-6

3-0

Returning Defensive Starters:

Calvary Christian School has the newest football program around, but the Knights keep putting together teams that produce results. Last fall, the Calvary Knights’ record was 5-6 with a GICAA Division II West Region title. That feat gave Calvary head football coach Brian Osborne and his team back-to-back region championships. The Knights lost some key players from last year’s team, but Osborne feels they are able to fill in those gaps on the 2018 team. “We will have more depth this next season than we have had the past few years,” he said. “Our younger players are stepping up and will be able to help in the rotation.” Osborne noted his program has had problems with strength, especially in the playoffs. That probably will not be the case going forward as Calvary just completed a $30,000 renovation in the school’s weight room and have begun a new weight lifting program for athletes. Having been known for offense, the Knights will have a different look for 2018 that could just set the team on the road to a state title. “Defensively, with eight starters back, I expect us to be more dominant and give up fewer points,” Osborne said.

Head Coach: Brian Osborne Years at School: 7

Record at School:

43

33


Red Devils SCHEDULE

Garrett-Harrison Stadium

Photography courtesy of www.ledger-enquirer.com Written by: Beth Welch In just four years Central High School’s football program under the direction of head coach Jamie DuBose has established a winning reputation. Last year the Red Devils posted an 11-1 season, going undefeated in the regular season. The Alabama school’s powerhouse program lost some talented players from that team, but DuBose has managed to develop the Red Devils system into one that can fill in the gaps. This year’s team should be heavy on defense with depth, returners (including seven returning starters), and speed. There is a lot of depth on offense as well, especially in the QB and RB positions. Five returning offensive starters will bring experience to the 2018 team. Still, there are challenges. DuBose said special teams is an area of concern, and Central starts out of the gate with some daunting opponents. “We have a tough schedule at the start playing in the Cam Newton Invitational Border Wars playing Mays, then Game 2 against Meridian, Mississippi,” DuBose said. “Both schools are highly ranked in their state.” Every year it is speculated Central can go further into the playoffs and take the state title. This season may be the one that sees them get it done.

Head Coach: Jamey DuBose

2017 Overall Record

6-0

11 -1

Years at School: 4 Record at School:

40

2017 Region Record

8/25

@

Mays , Georgia

8/31

-

Meridian, Mississippi

9/7

@

Smiths Station

9/14

@

Prattville

9/21

@

Opelika

9/28

-

Park Crossing

10/5

-

Enterprise

10/12

-

Lee

10/19

@

Jefferson Davis

10/26

-

Auburn

Players To Watch

RB/FS

QB

FS

Ray Thornton

DJ Rias

Devonte Mathews

Returning Offensive Starters:

Returning Defensive Starters:

9

Panthers SCHEDULE

Photography courtesy of http://opelikaobserver.com Written by: Beth Welch Seven high schools in the Columbus Valley named new coaches for the 2018 season. One of those schools is Smiths Station High School in Smiths, Alabama. Taking over the Panthers football program is Mike Glisson, who has over 20 years of coaching experience. Glisson is well-known in the area since he had several local assistant and head coach jobs before spending the last two years as defensive coordinator at Beauregard High School. The road ahead for Glisson and his brand new staff is long. The Panthers were 0-10 last season. It has been years since the school produced the kind of team that had gained a reputation of being a major contender in the area. In an extremely tough region, Smiths will face some powerhouse teams like Central and Auburn. There is definitely a talent pool to draw from in Smiths. One bright spot from the past season was Panther player Deandre Williams signing with the Naval Academy. Glisson’s program will certainly need time to rebuild, but new coaches usually get a lot of grace, and this isn’t Glisson’s first rodeo. He knows what he is facing. “We will define success by getting better every day,” he said. 1st Year at School

-

Russell County

8/31

@

Valley

9/7

-

Central

9/14

@

Enterprise

9/21

@

Lee

9/28

-

Stanhope Elmore

10/5

-

Jefferson Davis

10/12

@

Auburn

10/26

-

Prattville

11/2

@

Eufaula

Players To Watch

2017 Overall Record

0-10

8/24

AHSAA 2-7A

Smiths Station

Head Coach: Mike Glisson

AHSAA 2-7A

Central

LB/RB

LB/RB

OL

DL

DJ Moffett

Kyran Hall

Chad Strickland

Sherman Henry

In The Game | 113


AISA 1-3A

Glenwood

Gators SCHEDULE

Photography courtesy of www.glenwoodgators.org

The Swamp

Written by: Beth Welch

8/24

@

Lakeside

8/31

-

Deerfield-Windsor, Georgia

9/7

-

Bessemer Academy

9/14

@

Morgan Academy

9/28

-

Noxubee, Mississippi

10/5

@

Kingwood Christian

10/12

-

Tuscaloosa

10/19

-

Lee-Scott Academy

10/26

@

Autauga

Players To Watch 2017 Overall Record

7-4

2017 Region Record

3-2

QB

OL

WR

Bryce Valero

Nathaniel Trzpuc

Trevor Crisco

Returning Offensive Starters:

2018 Coaching Changes Written by: Joshua Miller

Returning Defensive Starters:

Glenwood School posted an 8-5 record in 2017, one of the best in the area. It was Jason Gibson’s second season as head of the Gators football program, and he is looking for a winning 2018 season. “We expect to be in the championship every year,” Gibson said. “Those are the expectations for every sport at Glenwood, and football is no different.” It was a big deal for the Gators to defeat Bessemer at home last season, and there were some other highlights, but the focus now is on this fall. Gibson’s team looks promising with eight returning starters on offense and four returning defensive starters. Strengths include the offensive line and the return of quarterback Bryce Valero. There are some challenges, though. Gibson has had to rebuild the defensive side of his game, and the team needs to stay healthy deep into the season, something that proved to be a problem going into the playoffs. There is also the new issue of longer travels since the school has a new conference alignment. Glenwood has a reputation of producing winning sports teams. The Gator Nation will be looking for a winning football season and shouldn’t be disappointed this fall.

Head Coach: Jason Gibson

Years at School: 2 Record at School:

16

9

The Thomas County Central Yellow Jackets hired new head coach Ashley Henderson, previously the head coach at Valwood School. The Worth County Rams named Worth County athletic director Frankie Carroll as interim head coach. The Berrien County Rebels hired new head coach Tim Alligood, previously an assistant coach at Coffee High School. The Lanier County Bulldogs hired new head coach Kurt Williams, previously the defensive coordinator for Brunswick High School. The Tiftarea Panthers hired new head coach Erik Soliday, previously the head coach at Americus-Sumter High School. The Valwood Valiants hired new head coach Justin Henderson, previously the school’s defensive coordinator. The Harris County Tigers hired new head coach Jamie Fox, previously the school’s offensive coordinator. The G.W. Carver Tigers hired new head coach Corey Joyner, previously the head coach at Dougherty High School. The Northside (Columbus) Patriots hired new head coach Dave Nurnberg, previously the offensive coordinator at St. Xavier High School in Louisville, Kentucky. The Kendrick Cherokees hired new head coach Andre Slappey, previously an assistant coach at Americus-Sumter High School. The Jordan Red Jackets hired new head coach Joe Kegler, previously an assistant coach at Stewart County High School. The Spencer Green Waves hired new head coach Justin Newman, previously the head coach at Jordan Vocational High School. Smiths Station Panthers hired Mike Glisson, previously the defensive coordinator at Beauregard High School.


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South Georgia August/September 2018 Edition  

In the Game Magazine

South Georgia August/September 2018 Edition  

In the Game Magazine