2021 Kick Off Guide

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COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE 2021

High School football 2021:

A season of unlimited potential

sports@newnan.com

A

s soon as I got home from Trinity Christian’s state championship game at Center Parc Stadium in Atlanta, I got a calendar out to see how many days until high school football is back. It has been a part of my life for 55 years. My parents took me to my first Georgia high school football game in 1973. It was an epiphany to me: the players, the sounds and the pageantry. When I go to games these days, I still imagine there’s an 8-year-old out there about to have the same experience as I did. Last season, we didn’t know what to expect. COVID-19 had things up in the air, so we only took it a week at a time. But what a season it was. Each week brought highlights and heartache. The season was like a well-orchestrated Broadway performance that built up to a season-ending crescendo. From the opening weekend when East Coweta defeated Starr’s Mill in overtime to Trinity’s finale at the state championship game where the Lions held on through the fourth quarter, the season was filled with drama and sportsmanship. The Newnan/East Coweta game was epic and will be talked about for years. East Coweta’s overtime win against Collins Hill was a program builder. Newnan went undefeated deep into the season. Northgate had an overtime win over Locust Grove where they seemed to be down and out several times. Heritage saw heartbreak at many stops along the way, but never gave up. They played to the whistle and finished the year better than when they started. Central Christian felt both extremes. They got hot during the season and appeared to be primed for a deep playoff run only to see it washed away when an opponent used a COVID-positive player. Trinity Christian made it to the final game. They waded through a season of injury that saw them win a game

‘‘

Twenty years from now, the players we cheer for on Friday nights will be leaders in our community.

‘‘

BY ROB GRUBBS

-Rob Grubbs

on a final drive with a backup quarterback and even had to pull a kicker from the student body because of injuries. But they got healthy at the right time and stormed through the playoffs. The first half of their third-round playoff game against Fellowship Christian was almost football perfection. So, it is time to hit the reset button and start all over. Unlike last year, the teams had spring practice and summer workouts. We learned last year how much we need high school football. Twenty years from now, the players we cheer for on Friday nights will be leaders in our community. So let us sit back and enjoy watching them grow up playing a game that turns them into adults and adults back into kids. And for that 8-year-old that will be coming for the first time, let us hope that it forms a lifetime love for the sport itself. 5


2021 COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE EAST COWETA

East Coweta INSIDE Unlimited Potential High School Football 2021: We

learned last year how much we need high school football. This year has unlimited potential. Page 5

SPOTLIGHT ON ... EAST COWETA NEWNAN NORTHGATE TRINITY CHRISTIAN HERITAGE SCHOOL CENTRAL CHRISTIAN

6 - 11 12-17 18 - 23 24-30 31-34 35-38

ON THE COVER

Dedicated & Driven

Dedicated & Driven Cody Earle completes a pass in the Crusaders’ spring game against Griffin Christian. The cover photo was taken by Michael Clifton 6

Region champs thrive with unity and a love for teammates BY ROB GRUBBS

sports@newnan.com

W

hen Head Coach John Small was hired to be the 10th coach in East Coweta football history, he came with a vision. He saw a team reaching new heights through unity, hard work and a belief in the plan. On Nov. 20, 2020, part of that vision became a reality when the Indians won their first region title since 2001. Coach Small opened up on how winning has changed the program. "After last year, the standard has changed,” he said. “We went into the offseason and said, goals are great, but we have a standard. The standard now is to win region championships. “It is easier to get to the top than it is to stay at the top,” Small continued. “It takes consistency, a lack of complacency, and hunger. So, the theme for our team this year is “Unity” taken from 1 Corinthians 12:14. Everybody must do their part, and they can't let the other part down.” In comparing the 2021 team to last year, Coach Small said, "They are more consistent in their competitive nature than last year's team, but we have to build

depth." The coaching staff has made it a priority in the offseason to get the team to compete more. Overall, the Indians are young on paper, but they are mature in playing time. The Indians are the defending champions in Region 2-7A and play their home games at Garland Shoemake Memorial Stadium. The facility was dedicated on Aug. 31, 1990, when the Indians defeated Hogansville 19-7. LEADERSHIP – Coach Small is a graduate of Westside High School in Augusta, where he played for Head Coach Don Fendley. After lettering four years at West Georgia at tight end, he stayed on as a graduate assistant before moving to South Gwinnett as an assistant coach under legendary T. McFerrin. Small later returned to be their head coach in 2005. He is entering his fifth season as the Head Coach at East Coweta. In his Georgia High School Association coaching career, he is eight wins short of 100. Under his leadership, the Indians have won a playoff game three years in a row. A playoff win this year would make him the first


COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE 2021

East Coweta head coach to win a postseason game in four consecutive seasons. LAST YEAR IN REVIEW – The Indians shook off an early season road loss to Norcross to finish the regular season undefeated and win their first region title since 2001. They had three huge home wins, including two overtime thrillers against Starr’s Mill and Collins Hill. They also defeated their neighbor and region rival, the Newnan Cougars, on a blocked extra point for a one-point win for the ages. They won their opening playoff game against Marietta. OFFENSE – The Indians will run a hybrid offense and return a big-time player in Daniel Shoch at quarterback for his senior year. “Danny came in last year and learned our system and played well,” Small said. “This year we will be a little different on offense. We will do some other things he can do really well. I am excited to watch him play.” In addition to being a great quarterback, Schoch is also a great leader and spends time mentoring the younger kids in the program. Backing up Shoch will be junior Caleb Mize. Coach Small was not afraid to offer up praise for the work Mize has done. "He is a dude; he is a gamer and is a joy to coach,” Small said. “Our biggest question will be how to get him some playing time.” Behind Shoch in the backfield will be junior Trey Bowles, who split time at the position last year. He averaged over 6 yards a carry and scored 10 touchdowns. Markus Sutherland and senior Noah Watson will back up Bowles and are ready to play when called on. Coach Small is excited about the wide receiver group. "We feel really good about that position,” he said. “We have the most depth there and they could be a special group with a trigger man in Shoch." The group includes last year's leading receiver in Amaryion Moss, who had eight touchdown receptions, and Fate Simmons, who, according to Coach Small, "has blossomed, he has had a great offseason, a great spring and a great summer. He is a real threat on the outside." Others in the receiver mix include Evan Prosser,

Brady Tillman, Cole Cortez, Victor Williams, Gianna Dahlman and Deonte Jones. At tight end, the Indians will have a rotation of Bram Cronic, Josh Cooper, Jaxon Smoak, and at H-Back they use Bryson Foley. The offensive line took a massive hit from graduation. Junior Aaron Fenimore is the only returning starter and will anchor the group at center. Prince Seymore got a lot of playing time last year and will be solid as well. The rest of the group is still coming together, and the fall camp will settle who will be starting. The players battling for spots include Josh Strong, CJ Stubbs, Zach Clayton, Josh Macias, Nathan Shockley, Colton Eidson, Wade Gross and Addison Brown. Coach Small said, "We will be playing a lot of people upfront until we figure out the best five." DEFENSE – The Indians play a multiple front defense that includes a lot of movement before the snap. They base out of a 4-2-5 but will slide into some three-man front as well. The Indians defense lost a lot of experience from last year through graduation. Coach Small shared an overall assessment, “We are young on defense, there are only three seniors. They may not be huge upfront, but they can run, and they will strike you. And they have been in the system for three years, which is a big deal.” The defensive front is led by Malakai Dudek, a returning starter from last year who registered a couple of sacks and quarterback hurries. Other starters include Shurmack Brazil and Keelan Kornegay, who also saw playing time as well. The rest of the unit EAST COWETA • 8

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2021 COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE EAST COWETA

EAST COWETA FROM PAGE 7

will come from a group that includes Calvin Phillips, Bailey Kornegay and Matthew Haberman. “We are still trying to build some depth upfront on the defensive line,” Small said. The Indians feel good about their first three players at the inside linebacker, Christian Richardson, who started last year, Brandon “BJ” Johnson, and Cosby Ellis. Others battling for spots are Tyler Jacobson, Daniel Poole, Tamarion Overton, Malachi Hardwick and Lucas Dailey. Both corners from last year graduated, but Caleb Harris, a junior, got a start in the playoffs last year and is ready to rise to the challenge. Another junior, Deliyon Freeman, sets up shop on the other side. Depth will come from Jayden Stanley, Ryan McKelphin and Flenn Larkin. Makai Sullivan got playing time at safety last year and will be the starter. The backups include Kenneth Riley and Malachi Dugger. Finally, the starting outside linebackers are Michael Burse and Carlos Montgomery. Others who will see playing time are sophomore Josh Anderson, junior Miguel Strozier and senior Nikerion Teagle. SPECIAL TEAMS – The Indians have a five-star long-snapper in Keith McNutt, who is nationally ranked as a sophomore. Lucca Labattaglia will handle the punting and kicking chores. Coach Small had high praise for the senior. “When it comes to kickers, he is the most mentally tough kid I have been around, and his work ethic is second to none,” Small said. “Our players respect the heck out him.” The Indians will utilize a slew of return men, mostly offensive skill players. OUTLOOK – The Indians lost a lot on the offensive line and their defense. But the players that are stepping up are talented and have been in the program for a while. They will need to grow up in a hurry. Their non-region opponents include Whitewater, Norcross, Collins Hill and New Manchester, who qualified for the playoffs last year, there is no easing into the season. All four of their region foes have improved and will be ready to challenge the defending region champions. 8

PHOTO BY GREG KEITH

Head Coach John Small begins his fi h season at East Coweta.

The overall strength of the team is the playmaking skills on offense. Shoch has weapons all over the field and will find new ways to get the ball in their hands. The offense will need to carry the load early as the defense catches up. But Coach Small likes this team a lot. “These kids live out every day our motto of, ‘I love my teammates every day.’” he said. “They compete like crazy and talk smack like crazy; they are not afraid of the challenge.” He is also high on his coaching staff. “They care about each other; they are a close-knit bunch of dudes that are fun to work and spend time with.” KEY GAME ON SCHEDULE – (NOT NEWNAN) – The overtime win in the rain last season over Collins Hill was the Indians’ first victory at home against a ranked opponent since Sept. 23, 2016, when they defeated Arabia Mountain. Collins Hill went on to play in the state championship game, where they lost to Grayson. The Indians will travel to Suwanee for the rematch, and Collins Hill is loaded once again; it will be an excellent test for the young East Coweta defense. NAME FROM THE PAST – On Oct. 19, 1990, East Coweta hosted the Americus Panthers, who were 6-1 on the season. Trailing by five with four seconds left, Head Coach Danny Chronic called for a Double Reverse pass that resulted in a touchdown as time expired for a 13-12 win. East Coweta quarterback Drew Cronic found Brad Mizell for the winning score. Drew Cronic is now the head coach at Mercer and just extended an offer for Shoch to play quarterback for the Bears down in Macon. It was an instance of a former East Coweta quarterback offering a scholarship to a current East Coweta quarterback.


COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE 2021

EAST COWETA INDIANS 2021 COACHING STAFF Head Coach John Small

Patrick Jordan RB

AJ Ellis 9th Grade

Jackson Dean QB

Andy Washington DB

Hunter Ingram 9th Grade

Dennis Edwrads OL

Mark Barfield OLB

Martin Benavidez 9th Grade

Nicholas Johnson OL

Sam Honeyman DL

Carson Carroll 9th Grade

Ronald Steinhefler WR

Chase Smith 9th Grade

Todd Crafton Director of Football Operations

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2021 COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE

There are a lot of weapons on offense, including Fate Simmons (#11), Evan Prosser (#8) and Amaryion Moss (#4).

EAST COWETA INDIANS

SCHEDULE 2021

8/21 Neutral - Starrs Mill Whitewater

9/10 Home Meadowcreek

8/27 Home New Manchester

9/17 Home Northgate

9/3 Home Norcross

9/24 Away Collins Hill

10/1 OPEN 10/8 Home Pebblebrook * 10/15 OPEN 10/22 Away

Campbell * 10/29 Home McEachern * 11/5 Away Newnan * *Region Game

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COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE 2021

2021 EAST COWETA INDIANS

ROSTER

NEWNAN TIMES HERALD

Gianni Dalman (#81) is part of a deep and talented receiver group.

1 Lucca Labattaglio Sr 2 Martravion Bowles Jr 2 Chris Hernandezboch So 3 Caleb Mize Jr 3 Carson Westerman So 4 Amaryion Moss Sr 5 Keelan Kornegay Jr 5 Chris Bailey So 6 Michael Burse Jr 7 Malakai Dudek Sr 8 Evan Prosser Sr 9 Makai Sullivan Jr 10 Bram Cronic Jr 11 Zander Simmons Sr 12 Flenn Larkin Sr 13 TJ Sumler So 14 Carlos Montgomery Sr 15 Thomas Stanford So 16 Victor Williams Jr 17 Dionte Jones So 18 Daniel Shoch Sr 18 Rico Lane So 19 Miguel Strozier Jr 20 Malachi Dugger So 21 Kaleb Harris Jr 22 Brady Tillman Jr 22 Cole Fant So 23 Deliyon Freeman Jr 24 DJ Reid Sr 25 Jayden Stanley Jr 25 Alexander Carroll So 26 Colt Cortez Jr 27 Anthony Henry So 28 Christian Richardson Sr 28 Kasey Mills So 29 Josh Anderson So 29 Dural Thompson Fr 30 Cosby Ellis Jr 31 Tamarion Overton Jr 31 Easton Bowles Fr 32 Jeremiah King Jr 33 Brandon Johnson Jr 34 Kenneth Riley Sr 36 Lucas Dailey Jr 37 Bryson Foley Sr 38 Grant Maloy Jr 39 Seth Gritton So 40 Noah Watson Sr 41 Jayshon Stegall 9 42 Nikerion Teagle Sr 43 Brayden Ray Jr 44 Ryan Mckelphin Sr 45 Markus Sutherland Jr 46 Brandon Gutierrez Jr

46 Cub Tinsley So 47 Daniel Poole Jr 48 Elijah Shelnutt Jr 49 Grace McGill Jr 50 Josh Strong Sr 51 Addison Brown Jr 52 Tyler Jacobson Jr 53 Mason Spann So 54 Jamal Amie So 55 Tyler Cobb So 56 Luke Shelnutt Jr 57 Calvin Phillips Jr 58 Tyler Horsley Fr 59 Ryan McElwaney So 60 Keaton McNutt So 61 Aaron Fenimore Jr 62 CJ Stubbs Sr 63 Bryant Elder Jr 64 Austin Arrington Fr 65 Nathan Shockley Jr 66 Patrick Cater Jr 67 Matt Strickland Jr 68 Josh Macais Sr 69 AJ King So 70 Andre Geribon Jr 71 Mason Spelios So 72 Zach Clayton So 73 Wade Gross Jr 74 Colton Eidson Jr 75 Prince Seymour Sr 76 Trace McWright So 77 Ashton Sample So 78 Jacob Phillips So 79 Jaquavious Murry So 80 Nolan Miyamura Jr 81 Gianni Dalman Jr 82 Talmadge Arrington Sr 83 Peyton Gross Jr 84 Malachi Hardwick Jr 85 Joshua Little So 86 Jaxson Smoak Jr 87 Josh Cooper Jr 88 Tyler Baker Jr 89 Jackson Stewart So 90 Joey Ross Jr 91 Talynn Ellis Sr 92 Matthew Haberman Jr 93 Shurmack Brazil Jr 94 Andrew Welch So 95 Kenan Foster Jr 96 Bailey Kornegay Jr 97 Terrance Ware Fr 98 Jarvis Murry So 99 Angel Hernandez Jr

* Rosters effective July 2021. All rosters are subject to change. Formatted for readers by Clay Neely. 11


2021 COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE NEWNAN

Newnan Cougars: Rebuilding one brick at a time

I

n mid-November of last year, the Newnan Cougars were undefeated at 9-0 and ranked seventh in the state by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Just four short months later, they had lost two heartbreaking football games to close out the season, and their campus and football stadium took a direct hit from an EF-4 tornado. But through the adversity, there has been one constant: the strength and resolve of Newnan Head Coach Chip Walker and the Cougars. “It's been difficult. I mean, a lot of adversity has been thrown our way, but I've told a lot of people PHOTO BY KRISTY RODGERS this over the last couple of weeks that the one thing that's been so Fullback Jack Fitzgerald with a carry as tailback Mondriques Jordan looks for someone to block. good about it is our kids,” Walker shared. “They have not flinched, son as the leader at Newnan. He played high school footnot one time. They've been here, and they've worked ball at Stephens County for his father, legendary coach their tails off, and they've given us everything they had.” Rodney Walker. They have no locker room, their shoulder pads and After a college career at Tusculum, Walker went into equipment are stored offsite, and they have a makeshift coaching – first at Wofford and then on to Mary Persons weight room by the baseball field. They also have a roster before following his father at Sandy Creek, winning three full of young men ready to prove themselves. state championships as head coach. "We don't have locker rooms. We don't have a true Last year, he won his 150th career game against weight room. We don't have offices. We don't have the McEachern at Drake Stadium and currently sits with 152 internet,” Walker said. “There's a lot of things we've had wins. When combining his total with the 300 wins his fato move, where we worked out once during the summer. ther earned, the Walker duo has 452 wins and counting. We're working out with borrowed equipment. There's a Coach Rodney Walker can be seen pacing the Cougar lot of those things that have gone on, but they have not sidelines on Friday nights as he is there to support his son. phased us one time, and I'm proud of our kids for that.” Coach Walker also acknowledged his coaching staff for All of this plays into an offseason script preparing the the work they do. Cougars and their fan base for a special season ahead. “Our coaching staff has done an unbelievable job takGraduation took a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, but ing care of our young men. I can't be more grateful to the pieces are in place for a magical ride. them. I mean, they just get it done,” Walker said. The Cougars compete in Region 2-7A and play their home games at Drake Stadium. LAST YEAR IN REVIEW – COVID-19 caused a lot of LEADERSHIP – Coach Walker is going into his fifth sea- scheduling difficulties for the Cougars. They had to shut

12


COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE 2021 down for two weeks right before the season started. They also found out only hours before game time that the Carrollton game would have to be canceled because of their opponent's COVID-19 issues. But the Cougars were resilient and went through their schedule by winning nine games in a row. They suffered two heartbreaking losses on an extra blocked point and an untimely turnover. Senior quarterback Michael Maginnis, who is now at Samford University outside of Birmingham, had a remarkable season. He had 21 touchdown passes and only two interceptions to close out a magical high school career. Running back Bryson Moss, who went Eastern Michigan, scored 19 touchdowns and threw for another. OFFENSE – For the first time in several years, the quarterback position is unsettled going into fall camp. Gone is three-year starter Michael Maginnis, and in his place is a competition between two talented and game-tested athletes: James Paige, a junior, and Sawyer Bennett, a senior. “It's been a good competition,” Maginnis said. The two players have slightly different styles; Paige is mobile and moves around in the pocket, while Barnett is more of a pocket passer. But the competition has been good for both. “The best part about the whole thing is they all get

along and compete so well with each other,” Walker said. “They've pushed each other, and they've pulled for each other, and that's been really good.” The key to the quarterback position is that the coaching staff is not looking for either to be the next Maginnis. “We’re not going to ask them to be Michael,” Walker said. “Michael McGinnis was his own player, and we're not going to ask these guys to be him. But we are going to ask them to execute our offense, and they've done a really good job of that.” At tailback, the Cougars graduated their top two rushers from last year, but there is a stable of great running backs to pick up the slack. Nick Owens was the starting running back as a sophomore when injuries put him as the “nextman-up.” He responded with back-to-back 100 rushing games against Wheeler and Campbell. Last year, he switched to receiver and caught three touchdown passes. Other candidates include Mondriques Jordan, John-Austin Cochran, the Berry brothers, Quintavious and Antevius, and Jack Fitzgerald. “We lost two really good ones. But we feel like we've got enough depth and enough people, and they all can do different things,” Walker said. “They can come out of NEWNAN • 14

13


2021 COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE NEWNAN

NEWNAN FROM PAGE 13

the backfield. We can do some different things with that. Nick’s been a wideout, can go out there and play wideout. A couple of those guys could probably slide and play a little fullback if we needed them to. I mean, one of the barriers has been working in a little bit of a slot. I mean, those are some talented guys. There's no doubt about it.” Three solid players will see time at fullback. They include Jakob Perry, who has had a great summer, and Warren Moore and Donnie Moore. The Cougars also lost two good receivers, but there are many waiting in the wings like the tailback position. Johnathan Clark is the top returning receiver; he had 29 catches and two touchdowns. Aundre Carter has also played the position for two years. Others include Justyn Reed, Damian Bentley, Payton Hardy, Nate Bowie and J.R. Cantrell, who moved over from quarterback. On the receiver group, Coach Walker shared, “We can go out there and have six or seven of those guys that can show up and play, and we feel good about it.” Coach Walker offered high praise for his tight end, Drew Brooks. “He can block. He can catch the ball. He knows what to do. He is probably the best tight end I have ever had,” Walker said. The offense line is going to be an improved bunch, according to Coach Walker. Pichon Wimbley, a tackle who just committed to Georgia Southern, will be the anchor. Jaylon Revell will be the other tackle, and Will Walker has taken the center position. Levi Herndon is a two-year starter at one guard, and there is currently competition for the remaining guard spot. The candidates for that spot include Carter Brown, Jaylen Gould, Tyrell McGuire, Daylin Heath and freshman Jack Reese. DEFENSE – The Cougars base defense is a threeman front with Michai Hill, who just committed to play college ball at Georgia State, as the leader at one of the outside positions. Marvin Mitchell and Jaracus McGill will play the inside spot. The other end position is a competition between Caleith Childress, Trayveon Kendrick and Micah Bryan. The Cougars are solid at linebacker. Tripp Slaton is in the middle, and Ashton Heflin and Sean Johnson are on the outside. "That is a great group of football players, but it's a better group of young men that work and do,” Walker 14

said. “I mean, it's really a good group to be around.” The backups include Caleb Reid and Austin-Cochran, who is also a running back. Coach Walker had high praise for junior safety Jaylen Geter. “He reminds me a lot of Mike Hilton that played for me at Sandy Creek and spent a lot of time in the NFL,” he said. “Such a good football player.” Overall, they will play three safeties; Geter at one and the other two from a group that includes Demazes Dorsey, Jamarien McGruder, Cameron Braxton and Andrew Rush. Three players are in a rotation for the two corner spots: senior Adarius Keith, who played a lot last year at one spot; and Aundre Carter, a wideout; and Darius Harris. The competition will come from Korey Turks, Cameron Johnson, junior Irby Dunn's junior and Dedre’ Arnold, a freshman. SPECIAL TEAMS – The Cougars have three kickers that can be called upon, Sam Williams, Ethan Devers and Brady Judson. Dalton Anderson will handle the punting duties. For long snaps, the Cougars will call on Slaton. Owens will get the call for kick return duties. OUTLOOK – While the Newnan community has come a long way since the tornado, Coach Walker acknowledges there is still a lot ahead for everyone. “I could write a whole book about this one year already,” he said. “It's going to be a long time before we get back to normal.” Until then, the Cougars will just keep on doing what they do: show up, compete and get better every day. When asked about the team’s identity up to this point, Coach Walker said, “This group has great senior leadership. I think this is more of a blue-collar kind of group. They just go to work. They really have just shown up, and done, and just worked. We've really appreciated that.” The region is probably as strong as it has been in the past five years. “I don't think there are any gimmies right now,” Walker said. “I think it is going to be the best the league has been since we've been here.” KEY GAME ON THE SCHEDULE – (OTHER THAN EAST COWETA) – The Carrollton game last year was much anticipated before it had to be canceled. The Trojans made it to the third round of the state playoffs before falling to Valdosta (which was eventually credited as a Carrollton win after Valdosta had to forfeit). At the time they were supposed to play, the Trojans were ranked fourth in the state. Carrollton has a new head coach in Joey King, who won two championships at CarNEWNAN • 15


COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE 2021

NEWNAN COUGARS 2021 COACHING STAFF HC Chip Walker Offensive Line JT Brown Offensive Line TJ Barden Wide Receivers Bo Heard Wide Receivers Josh Cyprian Tight Ends Bill Luckie Running Backs

Quarterbacks Brooks Barden

DFO Jeremy Sweeney 9th Grade Matt Ross

Defensive Line Bran Mann

9th Grade Dustin Alley

Defensive Co/ Inside LB Chris Brown

9th Grade Bruce Dukes

Safties Trey Walker

9th Grade David Raschen

Corners Wes Clark

9th Grade Zerrick Willis

Safties Wes Hardin

Kickers Burt Horton

Zander Ogletree

NEWNAN FROM PAGE 14

tersville with Trevor Lawrence at quarterback. Coach Walker faced Coach King when he was at Sandy Creek in a state quarterfinal game, which became a classic. The last time the Cougars beat Carrollton was in 2015. NAME FROM THE PAST – Back in 1992, the Cougars welcomed the LaGrange Grangers to Drake Stadium. Both teams were undefeated and ranked second and third in the state, respectively. LaGrange had been named the 1991 high school national champion and rode into the game with a 23-game winning streak. Behind quarterback Derrick Steagall's two touchdown runs and running back Tony Portress’ 108 yards rushing, Newnan prevailed for a 19-3 victory. Steagall went on to a solid career at Georgia Tech, where he caught 99 career passes and had nine career touchdowns.

PHOTO BY KRISTY RODGERS

Johnathan Clark (#8), the top returning receiver, made this circus catch in the spring game against Troup County.

15


2021 COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE NEWNAN

PHOTOS BY KRISTY RODGERS Quarterback James Paige (#7) congratu-

Senior quarterback Sawyer Barne (#6) makes a throw in the spring game while Jaylon Revell (#78) protects him.

lates Quintavious Berry on a touchdown in the spring game.

NEWNAN COUGARS

SCHEDULE 2021 8/21 Away Starr's Mill

9/10 Home Mary Persons

8/27 Away Carrollton

9/17 Away Harris County

9/3 Home Sandy Creek

9/24 OPEN 10/1

770-253-1121

Home North Paulding

Pebblebrook*

10/8 OPEN

10/29 Home Campbell*

10/15 Away McEachern*

11/5 Away East Coweta*

10/22 Away

*Region Game

COWETA COUNTY IS READY FOR SOME

40 Hospital Road Newnan, GA 30263

leegoodrum.com 16

Go Cougars!


COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE 2021

2021 NEWNAN COUGARS ROSTER 1 Nick Owens SR RB 2 Sean Johnson JR LB 2 John Austin Cochran SR RB 3 Camarion Gates JR DB 4 Quanard Arnold SR WR 5 Adarius Keith SR DB 6 Jaylen Geter SR DB 6 Sawyer Barnett SR QB 7 James Paige JR QB 8 Jonathan Clark SR WR 9 Michai Hill SR DL 9 Mondriques Jordan JR TB 10 Aundrae Carter JR QB 11 Micah Bryan JR DL 12 Nathan Bowie JR WR 13 JD Monk JR WR 14 Duane Cure JR DB 15 Damien Bentley SR WR 16 JR Cantrell SR QB 17 Justin Smith SR CB 18 Jameer Scandrick Soph DB 19 Demazes Dorsey JR OLB 20 Tripp Slaton SR LB 21 Quintavious Berry JR RB 21 Ashton Heflin JR OLB 23 Jamarien Mcgruder JR DB 24 Trayveon Kendrick JR DE 24 Justyn Reid JR WR 25 Tristen Young Soph WR 26 Darius Harris SR LB 27 Andrew Rush Soph DB 28 Cameron Johnson Soph CB 29 Cameron Braxton Soph OLB 30 KoreyTurksSophCB 31 Brady JudsonSR K 32 Jaquan Kirkland Soph WR 33 Deon Arnold SR LB 34 Jay Graham SR LB 35 Jayden Davis SR OLB 36 Jakob Perry JR FB 36 Caleb Reid Soph LB 37 Tony Calhoun SR DB 38 Irby Dunn JR CB 38 Antevius Berry SO RB 39 Frank Braxton JR CB

40 Warren Moore Soph FB 41 Christian Clerk JR DL 42 Jack Whitemore Soph CB 43 Tyrek Grant SR DL 44 Shamir Payton Soph LB 45 Donnie Moore SR FB 46 Nolen Huey JR LB 47 Zy’Kerion Tucker Soph LB 48 Calieth Childress JR DL 49 Zy’Kerius Reeves SR WR 49 Brent Gregory Soph LB 50 Jeremiah McCaskell Soph DL 51 Brooks Inman Soph DL 52 Marvin Mitchell JR DL 53 Jaracus McGill SR DL 54 Raymond Shumake JR OL 55 Karonald Pittman JR OL 56 Tyrell Mc Guire Soph OL 57 Myles LondonJ R OL 58 James Dixon Soph DL 59 Levi HerndonJR OL 60 Orlando Favors Soph DL 62 Carter Brown JR OL 63 William Walker JR OL 64 Jaylen Gould JR OL 67 JustinPrivett Soph DL 69 Xavier Holston SR OL 71 Vincent Smith Soph DL 74 Pichon Wimbley SR OL 75 Dayln Heath Soph OL 77 DaSean Sands JR OL 78 Jaylon Revell SR OL 79 Jordan Baughcum JR OL 81 Payton HardyJR WR 82 Trey Bland JRTE 83 Nick Carter JR WR 84 Drew Brooks SR TE 86 Kage Bossman JR WR 88 Mac Brook Soph TE 88 Bricen Blankenship SR TE 89 Antwan Herring Soph WR 93 Isaiah Neeley JR WR 94 Ethan Devers Soph K 95 Mason Hillegas JR RB 96 Christian Decenszo JR K 97 Sam Williems JR K 98 Dalton Anderson SR K

* Rosters effective July 2021. All rosters are subject to change. 17


2021 COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE NORTHGATE

Northgate Vikings Northgate Vikings take on 2021 as a TEAM

T

he typical definition of a team is “a group of people who compete in a sport against another group.” But below the surface, there is so much more. It also includes communication, motivation, focus, training and leadership. But at the very core, a team is a group of people who trust each other. When Northgate Head Football Coach Mike McDonald looks over his 2021 Northgate Vikings, he sees that definition unfolding for the season ahead. When asked about the initial observations, he shared, “We are a team. That is the big thing. They enjoy being around each other, and they enjoy playing together. And they are not afraid of hard work.” The Vikings go into the 2021 season with a young offense, a seasoned defense and a resolve to improve on last year and get back into the playoff picture. Northgate competes in Georgia High School Association Region 2-5A and play their home games at Henry Seldon Stadium. LEADERSHIP - Coach McDonald is entering his fourth season at Northgate, 15th overall as a head coach, with 28 total years of high school coaching experience. He prepped at Morrow High School where his team won the 1987 GHSA Class 4-A state championship. As a defensive back, he had an interception to close the championship out at Tara Stadium. Coach McDonald has made head coaching stops at Union Grove, Newnan and now Northgate. He has led all three teams to the playoffs. LAST YEAR IN REVIEW – The Vikings started the season strong with wins over Locust Grove in double overtime and Villa Rica on the road. They played one of the best games against the eventual region champion Starr's Mill Panthers at home.

18

PHOTO BY GREG KEITH

Outside linebacker Justin Hale (#8) brings experience to the defense.

They just missed the playoffs by one game and had tough losses against Whitewater and Harris County. A win in those two would have returned the Vikings to the playoffs. OFFENSE – Northgate runs the Spread Wing T offense, with their quarterback in the shotgun. Coach McDonald said, "When you say Wing T, everyone thinks conservative, but we get in a lot of three and four-receiver sets, so we are multiple. “We are going to be young on offense across the board,” he continued. “We only have three seniors on offense. We are going to be very young on that side of the ball.” At quarterback, Northgate has youth for the second year in a row. There has been a competition between sophomore Ishan Melts and junior Ryan Cobb. From Coach McDonald’s perspective, they have both improved tremendously from spring until now, and they keep on working. “The thing they have to understand is they do not have to win the game, just manage it,” he said. “If they play within themselves, we will be fine.” Coach McDonald’s Wing T set utilizes the skills of two wingbacks, which line up off the line of scrimmage on


COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE 2021

Brandon Bordeaux (#42) was the leading tackler for the Vikings defense last season.

the wings of the offensive formation. “The way we do it, our wingbacks are in play as running backs and receivers. Those guys have to be able to run the ball, catch the ball and block well,” McDonald said. This season, the wingback will include senior Riley Lane and Daylon Milam. Of the returning skill players, Lane has the most experience. He had 167 rushing yards last season and averaged 6 yards a carry while scoring two touchdowns and catching four passes. Milam had a big game against Villa Rica on the ground and averaged 5 yards a carry with the ball. Hunter Robinson and Tay Lee can also fill in at the wingback position when needed. At tailback, Clayton Cowart and Evan Garrett will see playing time. Cowart got five carries last year and averaged 10 yards a carry in limited playing time. In Coach McDonald’s offensive vernacular, the split end is the X receiver. The coaches feel good about the three candidates for the position. Junior Tyon Williams got some playing time last year and caught a touchdown pass. Landon Usher and Amazon White will also

PHOTO BY GREG KEITH

see time at the position. Coach McDonald's son, Matthew, will start at tight end, while Jayden O'Neal will also be in the mix. The offensive line took a huge hit; all five starters graduated. Coach McDonald is pleased with the progress of the new group. “We are looking forward to seeing these guys play,” he said. “We might not be as big, but we are going to be more athletic.” Senior Jaylen Early gets the job at center while seniors Colton Crawford and Sam Fogle and junior Carson Coghland will be in the rotation at the guard spots. The tackles include sophomore Bradley Smith, who saw a lot of action as a freshman, and Will Taylor, along with Andres Franquez in the mix. DEFENSE – The Vikings play a 3-5 odd stack defense; it has been Coach McDonald’s bread and butter defensive philosophy as head coach. While the offense is young and will need to grow up NORTHGATE • 20 19


2021 COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE NORTHGATE

NORTHGATE FROM PAGE 19

in a hurry, the defense is seasoned and ready to lead the team. Up front, Northgate has talent and experience back, all juniors who each got playing time as sophomores. Colton Crawford, a three-year starter, will be the nose tackle. He led the team in tackles-for-loss last year. Justin Scot and Franquez will play the end positions. Smith and Coghland will fill in when needed. The Vikings system utilizes three inside linebacker positions, the Sam, the Mike and the Will. Senior Brandon Bordeaux, who led the team in tackles last year with 102, holds down the Mike, while Justin Hale mans the strong side. The Will position goes to Donnie Kilgore. All three inside linebackers come with significant experience. The outside linebackers are all new. Matt Herda, Brogan Sadler and Cobb are all included in the mix. Only Sadler registered a tackle last year from this group. Lane can play here as well when needed. This position must be highly versatile; they must be able to stuff the run from the box as well as help in pass coverage. The secondary is solid with three seniors. At free safety, senior Usher returns to the centerfield position on the defense. The corners are Tay Lee on one and Landon Rucker on the other. Depth will come from White and Cade Payne. SPECIAL TEAMS – Usher and Coghlan handle the long-snapping duties. The punting and kicking job belongs to junior Nick Troemel. Returners will be by a committee that includes Milam, Lee and Williams. OUTLOOK – Once again, Coach McDonald acknowledges a strong, solid region for the Vikings. “Griffin will be good; Harris County is good. Starr’s Mill has won it five years in a row. Northside, Whitewater and McIntosh will all be better,” he said. “Overall, it will be a very competitive region.” The coaching staff has remained intact, and that consistency is always key to program stability. “I have got a good, experienced, quality coaching staff. I am really excited about those guys and the job they do day in and day out,” he said. The non-region schedule includes traditional power Sandy Creek, county rival East Coweta, Villa Rica and Locust Grove. In the past five years, the region playoff spots have 20

PHOTO BY GREG KEITH

Landon User leads a talented and experienced secondary.

gone to Griffin and Starr's Mill, while the other two spots are usually up for grabs. It will be up to the young offense to grow up quickly and be ready for their first region contest on Oct. 1 at Starr’s Mill. For the Vikings, it will come down to that trust as a team and how that develops. It could turn out to be a special season at Valhalla. KEY-GAME ON THE SCHEDULE – The Whitewater game at home on Oct. 29, 2021, could be key to the Vikings season. With the Vikings and their Fayette County neighbor usually close in competition level, the winner of this game will be in good position in the region standings going into the final two weeks of the season. A NAME FROM THE PAST – On Oct. 10, 2008, Northgate defeated Fayette County 31-13 at home to improve to 4-2 on the season and undefeated in region play. In the game, Vikings senior quarterback Jake Copeland rushed for 76 yards and six carries. Copeland went on to make the All-State team at defensive back before attending Lenoir-Rhyne College. He is the current head coach of the Heritage Hawks.


COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE 2021

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2021 COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE NORTHGATE

Junior wideout Tyon Williams will be counted on as a playmaker on the outside.

PHOTO BY GREG KEITH

NORTHGATE VIKINGS

SCHEDULE 2021 8/21 Neutral - Starrs Mill Sandy Creek 8/27 Away Locust Grove 9/3 OPEN 9/10

Starr's Mill *

Griffin *

10/8 Home Harris County *

10/29 Home Whitewater *

9/24 OPEN

10/14 Away Northside (Columbus) *

11/5 Away McIntosh *

10/1 Away

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COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE 2021

2021 NORTHGATE VIKINGS ROSTER

PHOTO BY GREG KEITH

Head Coach Mike McDonald enters his fourth year at Northgate.

NORTHGATE VIKINGS 2021 COACHING STAFF Head Coach Mike McDonald

WRs Justin Crews

Offensive coordinator/QBs Kenny Morris

RBs Doug Giacone

Wingbacks Defensive Brandon Tennie coordinator/ DBs LaVarett Pearson Linebackers Roc Coleman OL Blake Turner Safeties Paul Pickett TEs Chris Wickstrom Defensive Line Marcelous Johnson

1 Tyon Williams WR JR 2 Riley Lane DB SR 3 Landon Rucker DB SR 4 Evan Garrett RB SO 5 Tay Lee DB SR 6 Landon Usher DB SR 7 Ryan Cobb QB JR 8 Justin Hale OLB SR 9 Jaden Middleton LB SO 10 Hunter Robinson RB SR 11 Amairon White WR JR 12 Stephen Smith OLB JR 13 Ishan Metts QB SO 14 Jayden O'Neal OLB SR 15 Colin Meehan QB SO 16 Lawlon Wells WR JR 17 Andrew Cochran DB SR 18 Cameron Coleman DB SO 19 Treyvon Derring WR JR 20 Joshua Cosme OL BSR 21 Clayton Cowart RB JR 22 Brogan Sadler OL BSR 23 Mason Hart RB JR 24 Donnie Kilgore LB SR 25 Matt Herda OLB JR 26 Cade Bates LB SO 27 Bryce Oswalt LB SO 28 David West DB SO 29 Luke Latham RB JR 30 Cade Payne DB JR 31 Ramsey Riggins OLB JR 32 Nick Troemel K JR 33 Graham Peek S SO 34 Daylon Milam RB JR 35 Jarred McPhillips LB SR 36 Carsen Allen RB SO 37 Dylan Liggett LB SO 38 Jeffrey Robinson RBFR 39 Anthony Barcenas DBSR 40 Johnny Glover DB SO 41 Will Ports DB FR 42 Brandon Bordeaux LB SR 43 Mark Hall RB FR 44 Caleb Duke LB JR 45 Cooper Hill LB SO

46 Ben Harmon TE SO 47 Isaiyah Bostic DB SR 48 Thompson Warren DB FR 49 Will Marshall DB JR 50 Amir Hopper DL SO 51 SamFogleOLSR 52 Ben Perry DE SO 53 Jaylen Early OL SR 54 Will Taylor OL JR 55 Aiden Kirby OL SO 56 Javier Dodson DL SO 57 Peyton Liggett OL FR 58 Colton Crawford OL SR 59 Cole Gibson OL SO 60 Bradley Smith DL SO 61 Trey Gaddy DL SO 62 Omar Singh DL FR 63 Zole Louis OL FR 64 Maddox Hoegar OL JR 65 Jason Perdomo DL JR 66 James Jackson OL JR 67 Logan Lunsford DL FR 68 Carson Coghlan OL JR 69 Jared Davenport OL JR 70 Kentez Overton DL FR 71Chris Castorena DL SO 72 IsakBergum OL FR 73 Robert McClung OL SO 74 Josh Fogle DL FR 77 Malachi Mitchell DL SO 80 Trent Gordon WR FR 81 Andres Franquez DE SR 82 Raymond Ferrell DE SO 83 Clark Coggin TE SO 84 Brandt Payne WR FR 85 Mason Mcknight WR FR 87 Jonathan Baxter WR JR 88 Matthew McDonald TE JR 89 Jonathan Klaustermeyer WR SO 90 Denver SingtonLBFR 94 Kayden Francikowski OLB SO 98 Jake Anderson K FR 99 Justin Scott DE SR

23


2021 COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE TRINITY

Trinity Christian Lions From pursuing to being pursued

I

n coach-speak, taking a program to the next level means to raise the expectation level and then meet it. Since he arrived in 2016, Trinity Christian Head Coach Kenny Dallas has preached to his team about the process of the climb. His program is built around the premise of working hard when no one is watching — an emphasis paid on attention to detail. All those factors came into focus last PHOTO BY EMILY WALKER year when the Lions Josh Dallas (#19) makes a catch in traffic. The Lions offense heated up last year when the receivers made a postseason got healthy. run that took them After college at Austin Peay, Coach Dallas started to the state championship game. But there was much coaching in Tennessee but soon ended up as the head more going on than just a team peaking at the right coach at Landmark Christian in Fairburn, where he time. There were countless hours of work in the weight spent 11 seasons and took them to the 2011 state chamroom, long hours put in by the coaching staff, and a pionship game. After a stint as defensive coordinator at constant vision of success the players were given. Eagles Landing Christian, he took the Lions job in 2017. When they got there, they recognized it. Coach Dallas also acknowledged the work of assisOne of the key tenets of last year's motto was that the tant coach Robbie Ross (defensive coordinator) and Lions were often overlooked. Even after they scored Lance Duncan (offensive coordinator). over 100 points in the first two rounds of the state play“They are great, not just good, coaches,” Dallas said. offs, some said they might be double-digit underdogs Coach Dallas is seven wins away from his 140th to their third-round opponent, Fellowship Christian. coaching win and is the all-time Trinity Christian winIronically, it was the Lions who won by 14 points, 41-27. ning coach. The word is out. In 2021, opponents will not overlook Trinity Christian. In two early-season rankings for Class LAST YEAR IN REVIEW – While last year will be reA-Private, they are ranked first in one and second in the membered for their state championship run, it should other. They have gone from pursuing to being pursued. also go down as the season the Lions overcame a mulThe Lions compete in Region 4 of Class A Private and titude of injuries and adversity. play their games at Trinity Christian Stadium. Their starting quarterback, multiple receivers, their kicker; the list goes on and on. But it allowed the Lions LEADERSHIP - Coach Dallas is entering his fifth sea- to build depth, and when everyone got healthy in the son as head coach for the Lions. He has a contagious personality, a strong family and deep faith. TRINITY • 26

24


COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE 2021

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2021 COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE TRINITY

TRINITY FROM PAGE 24

playoffs, the Lions took off. When starting quarterback David Dallas got rolled upon by a huge defensive lineman, backup Henry Brodnax came in and led. He even took the team on a last-minute game-winning drive against Brookstone that helped seal the region championship. When kicker Noah Maupin went down, Coach Dallas pulled a young man out of the classroom to kick. Ty Kopca filled in. It was indeed next man up. Even in the state championship game, the Lions lost two essential starters and had to face a five-star quarterback with backups, who held their own on the biggest stage. Another interesting moment from last season was when Coach Dallas was informed on a Thursday afternoon that their Friday night opponent could not play because of COVID-19. The Lions added Hampton to the schedule just 28 hours before game time (a 48-6 Trinity Christian victory). OFFENSE – The Lions run a Run/Pass Option spread-offense with one of the best calling the signals. Western Michigan commit David Dallas returns for his senior season. He is a gifted passer, runner and extension of the offensive coaching staff on the field. In the state championship game, he outplayed the five-star senior now at the University of Georgia. Even though he missed two games with injury, he still threw for 2,272 yards and 17 touchdowns. PHOTO BY EMILY WALKER Backing him up will be junior Henry Quarterback David Dallas will be playing for Western Michigan next year. Brodnax, who was baptized by fire last Dominick Cosper, who has size, speed and a burst at year in the 2 ½ games he took over the starting job. It is a huge benefit for the coaching staff the line of scrimmage. He will bring a whole new set of to have a backup with game experience like Brodnax skills to the offensive playbook. "Those two are really special,” Dallas said.”What I does. At tailback, Tyson Wall adds to the position where he love about them is that they are silent workers; they are had 1,241 rushing yards last season as a junior. But the both unbelievably humble. They are going to be a great Lions have added a dynamic back to the mix in senior one-two combo." 26


COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE 2021

Shawn Braxton and Lane Werling also got some carries last year in the running game. The wide receiver group is deep and very talented. Liberty University commit Josh Dallas (the quarterback's twin brother and coach's son) dodged some injuries last year to lead the team in receiving. On the other side is junior Aaron Gates, who has garnered notice from every program in the SEC and across the country. Bryce Wilcox is one of the slot receivers; he can run the ball through a jet motion and is tough as nails in downfield blocking. He just recently received an offer from the Naval Academy. The other slot will be Javan Harrison, who missed almost the entire season. Brock Rainwater, who missed all of last year with injury, will get some time as a receiver along with Michael Connor as well. According to Coach Dallas, “The depth at receiver is a strength of this team.” The offensive line has four returning starters. Carson Beach, Max Gosdin, Nathan Jones and Hunter Mashburn all return to their same position as last year. The final starter is still up in the air at this point in preseason practice, with several players competing to join the veteran group. DEFENSE – The Lions operate out of a 3-4 defense. They only lost one player to graduation, so this will be another strength to a powerful football team. Nose tackle Cam Mathews returns from a tremendous freshman season that garnered him a lot of attention. Coach Dallas shared, "I have never had a true nose man; I have just always had a bunch of tough guys who played there. Cam is a true nose tackle.” The ends include a group that all played exceptionally well last year. Those include Ethan McDowell, Zion Marielle and Josiah Johnson. Even though the Lions only play three linemen, Coach Dallas said they consider all four starters. Seniors Christian Hanson, who just committed to Akron, and Ryan Earl will play as inside linebackers. The outside backers are Shawn Braxton and Jimbo Batchelor. According to Coach Dallas, “Braxton is one of the smartest players on the field. He is always mentally prepared and in the right spot.” Josh Taylor played some linebacker last year, including some significant time during the state championship game. The defensive backfield is the one position where there is a lot of crossover play from the offensive skill positions. Josh Dallas and Wall are starting safeties, while Gates and Wilcox are the starting corners. Harrison, Rainwater, Cosper and Werling can all play in the secondary as well.

SPECIAL TEAMS – Naoh Maupin will be the kicker and Joshua Taylor will punt. They expect Maupin to consistently send his kickoffs into the endzone, which is a huge weapon. The long snapper will be Sam Taylor. Josh Dallas will return punts, and Wilcox will return kickoffs. OUTLOOK – The offseason theme has been #748 climb. With 7:48 seconds remaining in their state championship game with Prince Avenue, they were only six points behind at 27-21. “With 7 ½ minutes left in the game, we are right there. The idea is, we were close, but we were not there yet,” Dallas said. “We have more climbing to do; there are places on that mountain we haven’t seen yet. “There are three things you can do when you are climbing. You can camp out and sit where we are, or you can get tired and quit, but the third option is to keep climbing,” Dallas continued. “That is the culture of who we are. A great coach can help every team realize what happened last year was great, but none of that has anything to do with this year.” It means they will no longer be overlooked. All 10 teams on the Lions’ schedule know what Trinity Christian did last year and will step up their game for them. The roster has continued to grow. While three seniors graduated, the Lions added 31 freshmen. They went from 50 players last year to 75. "It is the most depth we have had since I have been here at Trinity Christian,” Dallas said. But with the talent level that is back and a year older and the additional pieces added, the 2021 team will be better than last year's state runner-up. That must be a scary thought for the other teams in Class A-Private. For the second consecutive season, Coach Dallas has selected Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 for the team verses. The scripture refers to warriors being “back-to-back.” “Those verses sum us up,” Dallas said. KEY-GAME ON THE SCHEDULE – While the Lions made it to the state championship last year, there is still one game that has eluded them. The Eagles Landing Christian Academy Chargers set the standard in Single-A Private. Coach Dallas knows them well; he was the defensive coordinator there before becoming Trinity Christians' Head Coach. The two teams have played each other four times, and ELCA has won all handily. The Lions go to McDonough on Oct. 1 to play ELCA; this could be the year the Lions break through.

TRINITY • 28 27


2021 COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE TRINITY

TRINITY LIONS 2021 COACHING STAFF Kenny Dallas Head Coach Roby Ross Asst Head and DC, DBs Lance Duncan OC and WR Creighton Rollins OL Ryan Duncan QB Josh Henry

RB Ben Anderson Offensive Asst. Chris Hanson Special Teams Drew Henderson DL Andy Ponsiego LB Nic Dickens JV HC

TRINITY FROM PAGE 27

A NAME FROM THE PAST – The Lions began playing varsity football back in 2011. Their first victory in their inaugural season was against Griffin Christian, winning 36-0 on Oct. 22, 2011. While they qualified for the playoffs five years in a row from 2012 through 2016, they did 28

PHOTO BY EMILY WALKER

Head Coach Kenny Dallas took the Trinity Christian Lions to the state championship game last year.

not win a playoff game during that period. The Lions' first ever playoff win was in Coach Dallas' first season when they defeated Westfield Academy 48-0 at home. Lion running back Luke Vermilya ran for 151 yards on 13 carries and four touchdowns in that win. Quarterback Shep Hancock ran and passed for a touchdown, and receiver Kyle Riesselmann scored from the wildcat formation. Hancock went on to Mercer to play baseball while Riesselmann went to Georgia State.


COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE 2021

2021 TRINITY LIONS ROSTER Cam Rodgers 0 Fr Dominick Cosper 2 Sr Coleman Duncan 3 So Jimbo Batchelor 4 Sr Noah Maupin 5 Sr Aaron Gates 6 Jr Tyson Wall 7 Sr Zion Marseille 8 Sr Josiah Johnson 9 Sr David Dallas 10 Sr Javan Harrison 11 Sr Austin Morrow 12 So Zenar Coggins 13 Jr Ethan McDowell 14 Jr RJ Coker 15 Fr Henry Brodnax 16 Jr Lane Werling 17 Jr Brock Rainwater 18 Jr Joshua Dallas 19 Sr Michael Conner 20 Jr Omari Stewart 21 So Seth Douglas 22 Fr Shawn Braxton 23 Jr Bryce Wilcox 24 Sr Will Roan 25 Fr Kaden Hanson 26 Fr

Brian Pierce 28 Sr Jackson Ross 30 Fr Hayes Wilson 31 Fr Logan Moss 32 Fr Brady Peterson 33 So Sam Burgess 34 Fr Dillon Stiltner 35 Fr Konor Howard 36 So Kayden Sullivan 38 Fr Ben Dunphy 39 Jr Landon Clare 40 Jr Anderson Embry 41Fr David Comte 42 Fr Christian Hanson 43 Sr Ryan Earl 44 Jr Trent Waldrop 46 Fr Aurelius Brooks 47 Fr Cooper Bell 48 Jr James Dattilio 49 Fr Carson Beach 50 Sr Sam Taylor 51 Jr Hunter Mashburn 52 Sr Matthew Wells 53 Fr Matthew McWilliams 54 So Cam Matthews 55 So Turner Morris 57 Fr

Nathan Jones 58 Jr Ryan Melton 59 Fr Dustin Tokar 60 Sr Wyatt Wood 61 Sr Zuri Scott 63 So Nathan Knowles 65 So Juan McLean 66 Sr Micah Dell 68 Sr Henry Zueck 70 Fr Andy Henderson 72 Fr Jonah Conaway 73 So Max Gosdin 75 Sr Grayson Ingram 77 Fr Caden Anderson 80 Fr Tucker Boone 82 Fr Will Adams 83 So Davis Peavy 84 Fr Nikolas Pagsisihan 85 Fr Aiden Monsour 86 Fr Joshua Taylor 87 Jr Jay Walker 88 Fr Micah Cobb 89 Fr Andrew Jaroszewski MGR Fr Carter Lucas MGR So

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2021 COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE TRINITY

Aaron Gates (#6) has go en a ention from every team in the Southeastern Conference.

PHOTO BY EMILY WALKER

TRINITY LIONS SCHEDULE 2021 8/20 Away Athens Academy 8/27 Away Mount Vernon Presbyterian 9/3 Home Fellowship Christian 9/10 Home Claxton

9/17 Home Landmark Christian 9/24 OPEN 10/1 Away Eagle's Landing Christian 10/8 Home Whitefield Academy 10/15

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COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE 2021 HERITAGE

Heritage Hawks

Heritage rebuilds through a ‘TEAM’ approach

S

ome may think the Heritage Hawks 2020 football year is a season to forget. It was a tough season from start to finish, but players create character and growth through adversity. You could already see glimpses at the end of last season of the potential; there just needed to be a leader to take the team from the valley and get back to the mountain tops. Enter Head Coach Jake Copeland, who is technically entering his second tenure as head coach. When then Head Coach Derrick “D.J.” Clay stepped down in 2016, Coach Copeland was named the new coach, but left soon after to take a college opportunity at the University of Jacksonville. Last year, Coach Copeland returned and was officially named head coach after the 2020 season. A new coaching staff and new faces in the program have brought a breath of fresh air to the program. "We are a young program,” Copeland said. “We just started playing football in 2006, so our goal is to continue to build on the summer. We started right after that first dead week in June, and consistently we have had over 20 guys here. And for a roster of 27, to have over 20 here every day has been huge." The process has been like a renovation show from HGTV. “We have been able to not only just install offense, defense, stuff like that, but we've been able to build as a team,” he said. TEAM is an acronym that has served as the Hawk's motto. TEAM is Together Everyone Achieves More. Because of a smaller roster, everyone will have to contribute in some way. The Hawks play at Heritage Stadium and compete in Region 4 of Class Single-A Private. LEADERSHIP – Coach Copeland is a Coweta County native. He played for Head Coach Bill Luckie at Northgate High School and was a quarterback and all-state defensive back. After a playing career at Lenoir-Rhyne, he stayed on as a coach, where they won four conference championships in a row. He also coached safeties and was the recruiting coordinator at Jacksonville University. LAST YEAR IN REVIEW – The year got off to a tough start in an opening loss against Greenville. On two occasions, they had a 16-point lead only to fall short at the end. It was a theme throughout the season. The Hawks would play gritty football for three quarters but lose the fourth quarter

PHOTO BY CHRIS MARTIN

Fullback Fred Tolbert is a bruising back who gets tough yardage inside.

because of their depth. But a closer look at the results tells a different story than one may think. Only once were they overwhelmed in a game, and that was against the top-ranked Eagles Landing Christian Academy game. Of their 11 opponents last year, nine qualified for state playoffs, and the Hawks held their own deep into those games. OFFENSE – The Hawks transitioned to a pro-style offense under Coach Copeland. From within those formations, they will add zone reads and run-pass-option plays. The offense has a solid foundation in running backs James Thorpe and Fred Tolbert and lineman Wyatt Anderson. But they have added a couple of playmakers to the mix that will be huge to the offensive development. At quarterback, the Hawks welcome senior Hugh Barbee to lead the offense. Barbee led Flint River Academy to a GISA State Championship in a 25-20 victory over Crisp Academy as a freshman. In that game, he ran for two touchdowns and passed for two more. He is a dynamic playmaker that has quickness and elite arm strength. Braxton Goodwin and Thomas Scoggins have also taken some snaps in practice at quarterback to backup HERITAGE • 32 31


2021 COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE HERITAGE

HERITAGE FROM PAGE 31

when necessary. Running back may be the deepest position on the Hawks offense. James Thorpe and Fred Tolbert return from last season and are big, strong and powerful. “James and Fred will carry the load for the majority there at the running back spot,” Copeland said. Jamal Chandler-Fuller could play there as well, but he will focus on the slot receiver position. Barbee will have a premiere receiver added to the mix; Malachi Townsend who has elite size (6-foot-4, 190 pounds) and ability. He has significant experience in GHSA playoff games. Goodwin was their possession receiver last year. They will also have Mack Mikko, Scroggins, Field Chapman, Chandler-Fuller and Landon Freeman in the mix. “We will definitely have to sprinkle some guys in there throughout the game,” Copeland said. The offensive line is anchored by Wyatt Anderson, who just committed to Western Kentucky, and Sam Wall at tackle. Ty Sudduth will be at center and Matthew Tvrdik at one of the guards. The final position will come from a battle between Myles Tambro, Reed Roberts and Greg Smith. At tight end – the Hawks will utilize Kiernan Skelly, who moved over from an offensive line spot last year, and Laeth Hadad. DEFENSE – When asked about their defensive philosophy, Coach Copeland shared, “We'll be multiple fronts. So, when I was here before in 2016, we kind of ran a similar defense. We'll be in an even front and then shift to an odd front. We won't just be a 3-4, or we just won't be a 4-2-5. We'll be able to run all variances of a 4-2-5, a three-down, so we'll bounce in and out of that stuff trying to cause confusion.” Since they only have 27 players on the roster, the same cast of offensive players will be on defense as well. Upfront, Fred Tolbert will be the nose tackle. Wyatt Anderson will be at the other tackle spot. And then Hadad and Tambor are at the ends. Thorpe will play at defensive end on third down positions. The linebacker position has experience. Wall and Cody Anderson, who led the team in tackles last year, both return to man the positions they played last year. Griggs Smith and Bryson Smallwood will serve as backup. The outside linebackers include Bryant, Lathan and Thorpe. They have three to four guys at every position to just roll through during the game. In the secondary, Mikko will anchor from the rover or the strong safety position. Scoggins will be playing free safety spot while Townsend and Goodwill will be at corner. Chandler-Fuller will be the nickel back. 32

SPECIAL TEAMS – Mikko is highly versatile, in addition to playing receiver and rover, he handles the kicking duties. He has been consistently making 50- to 55-yard kicks in the offseason. Skelly will return to handle the punting chores. He also kicked a few games last year when Mikko was out. Wall will handle the long snaps. Kick and punt returners are still up in the air, but it will come from a group that includes Townsend, Chandler-Fuller and Scroggins. OUTLOOK – One of the keys to the season is being able to compete in the fourth quarter. Coach Copeland summed up their philosophy: “You know, for our roster size, a lot of our guys are going to have to play both ways. So, what we've done as a coaching staff, we've been very strategic on who is most important on offense and who is most important on defense.” And then the other thing they are going to do is be strategic on how they are going to play special teams. There are a lot of ways to play special teams where you can gain reps. Coach Copeland continued, “We have the best kicker in the class of 2023 in the state of Georgia. He's going to kick it out of the end zone. So can we steal a few reps on kickoff, something like that, just to help them. Just wherever we can gain reps will help us.” The Hawks cannot expect just their juniors and seniors to score every point and make every tackle. They are going to rely on all 27 players to go out and make plays. KEY GAME ON SCHEDULE – The schedule is rugged. There is county rival and region champion Trinity Christian and Class 1A Private traditional power ELCA on the horizon and traditionally strong public schools like Mount Zion, Bowdoin and Chattahoochee County. One game that stands out is local rival Landmark Christian. The Hawks had a chance to beat them last year but lost a heartbreaker at the end. The Hawks travel to Fairburn to play them on Oct. 15. NAME FROM THE PAST THAT LIVES ON – In 2012, the Heritage Hawks, under the leadership of Head Coach Kevin Prisant, won their first region championship. On Nov. 16, 2012, they hosted Pinewood Christian and won their first-ever state playoff game 42-27. During that contest, quarterback Joe Bonner found tight end Tyler Henson for a 10-yard touchdown pass. Henson was named GISA Class AAA All-State that season at tight end and defensive end. Tragically, his life was cut short in an automobile accident before his senior year of high school, but his legacy lives at the school and with the program. The school's Infinity Award winner gets to wear Henson's retired #8 jersey during a Heritage home game.


COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE 2021

2021 HERITAGE HAWKS ROSTER 1 Jamal Chandler-Fuller 11 RB/LB 2 Malachi Townsend 12 WR/DB 3 Hugh Barbee 12 QB/DB 5 Fred Tolbert 12 RB/DL 6 James Thorpe 12 RB/LB 7 Braxton Goodwin 12 WR/ DB 11 Keirnan Skelly 12 TE/DB/P 13 Landon Freeman 9 WR/ DB 14 Laeth Haddad 12 WR/LB 15 Mack Mikko 11 WR/DB/K

17 Mason Bolinger 10 WR/ DB 21 Thomas Scoggins 10 WR/DB 22 Bryson Smallwood 9 TE/LB 52 Sam Wall 12 OL/LB 54 Cody Anderson 10 OL/ LB 55 Myles Tambro 11 OL/LB 56 Griggs Smith 9 OL/LB 64 Reed Roberts 9 OL/DL 72 Matthew Tvrdik 10 OL/ DL

HERITAGE HAWKS 2021 COACHING STAFF Jake Copeland Head Coach - Defensive Coordinator Ed Williams Associate Head Coach - Offensive Coordinator Matt Neighbors Passing Game Coordinator Running Backs Nathan Watts Special Teams Coordinator

Jake Jenkins QBs

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2021 COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE HERITAGE

James Thorpe is a big-time athlete who is ge ing big-time college offers.

PHOTO BY CHRIS MARTIN

HERITAGE HAWKS SCHEDULE 2021 8/20 Home Greenville 8/27 Home Eagle's Landing Christian 9/3 Away Chattahoochee County

9/10 Away Bowdon 9/17 OPEN 9/24 Home Mount Zion (Carroll) 10/1

Away Whitefield Academy 10/8 OPEN 10/15 Away Landmark Christian 10/22 Home

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St. Anne-Pacelli* 10/29 Home Trinity Christian* 11/4 Away Brookstone* *Region Game


COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE 2021 CENTRAL CHRISTIAN

Central Christian

Crusaders getting the most from a small roster

I

n a sport that requires 22 players on the field at all times — 11 on offense and 11 on defense — a team with a small roster is constantly juggling roster combinations and player rotations. It is just a part of doing business. For Central Christian Head Coach Paul Frantz and his staff, they have gotten the art of managing a small team down to a science. It is who they are, and they embrace it. With 16 players currently on the roster, most will be asked to contribute on both sides of the ball. Central Christian competes in the Georgia Association of Private and Parochial Schools Region 1 Class A and plays their home games at Roy G. Davis Stadium at Scott Thompson Field. LEADERSHIP – Coach Frantz has long been connected to the Central Christian program. His first interaction was in 2008 when his son joined the team under Head Coach Rick Sherman. Coach Frantz joined the coaching staff and has been closely connected ever since, except for one year he was away coaching at CrossPointe Christian Academy in Pike County. Also closely connected to the program is Coach Joey Farlow. The combination struck gold. After an 0-10 season in 2013, the Crusaders went 25-2 the next two years, including a national championship, a state championship, and a state runner up. LAST YEAR IN REVIEW – The Crusaders experienced a bittersweet 2020 season. They caught their stride when the region schedule began, including wins over Rock Springs, Hancock Central and Georgia Christian. A playoff run was cut short when they were notified that a player from a prior week’s game had COVID-19, and the Crusaders were forced to forfeit the remaining playoff game. At the time Coach Farlow shared, “We had a lot of young guys playing, getting some game experience and moving forward. We have lots of positives to build on. But we tell our guys life is not always fair, and things happen they cannot control. We can get down about it, but we must move forward and start getting ready for next year.” Next year has arrived. A remarkable stat is that of the Crusaders’ five seniors from 2020, three signed to play football at the next level. Those included JT Brown, who signed with Shorter, Colton Haydon with LaGrange College and JC Clements

with Catawba. OFFENSE – Central Christian’s offense is a hybrid offense classified as a Gun-T. They put the quarterback and the tailback in a “Pistol” set and have two wingbacks. The beauty of the offense is how it can adapt to the personnel each season without needing to change the integrity of the offense. It will stretch the defense horizontally with the run game and vertically with the passing game. Coach Frantz shared, “My philosophy is that it is easier to run multiple formations with the same plays than it is to teach your kids a bunch of plays.” With the preseason still unfolding, the battle for the quarterback is hotly contested. The candidates include Edward “Juice” Bouldin and Cody Earle. It will come down to who will be the better fit for the offense. The winner of that battle will have ramifications across the offense. If Earle wins the signal caller job, Bouldin will be the tailback, but if Bouldin gets the nod, Earle goes to tight end and Eli Rivers will be the tailback. Rivers had an incredible spring and averaged 7 yards a carry in the Crusaders’ spring game against Griffin Christian. The receivers in the Gun-T set include Ethan Reeves, Sam Terell, Logan Bubel and Mark Hayden will all get time at the wings and wide outs. If Earle is the quarterback, Rivers will settle into the tight end. To summarize, Bouldin, Earle and Rivers will be interchangeable at those three offensive skill positions. Overall, the tailback in Coach Frantz’s system will be the workhouse. The line is also a work in progress. Noah Hill is set to play center, and Landon Gregory will be at left guard and David Haydon at right guard are settled. The tackles are still being worked out, but Josh Harmon and Ryan Scroggs are ahead of Blake Hearn and Larone Rainey. DEFENSE – The Crusaders will start the season out of a 4-3 defense. The defensive ends will be Hill and David Hayden, while Landon Gregory, Rainey and Hearn will play at the defensive tackle positions. The Crusaders will bring the strong safety down a lot to give a 4-4 look to the defense. That will put Earle and Scruggs inside, while Reeves will be at one outside lineCENTRAL • 36 35


2021 COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE CENTRAL CHRISTIAN

CENTRAL FROM PAGE 35

backer spot. There is a battle for the other outside position, but freshman David Hayden would get the nod if the season started today. In the secondary, Bouldin will be at one corner and will take the wide side of the field while Terell will be on the other side. Rivers will be the free safety and roam centerfield for the defense. “Eli can really cover some ground on defense,” Frantz said. SPECIAL TEAMS – Scruggs began kicking last year and got better as the season went along. He’ll take over the duties full time this season. Coach Frantz has a unique philosophy when it comes to punting. “I am not going to say we will never punt, but I am not a big fan of punting. When we have to, I want my quarterback to be in the punt position,” Coach Frantz shared. Hill will stay in his center position to handle the long snap duties. OUTLOOK – While the lack of numbers could be alarming to some, it is second nature to Coach Frantz. “This is small school stuff; we do what we can do,” Frantz said. “We work with the kids that show up; that is all we can do.” Regardless of the numbers, Coach Frantz is confident that his stable of athletes in Bouldin, Rivers and Earle put him in special company. The only thing that could hold them back are injuries. “I do not see how we don’t go deep in the playoffs at this level, but it all comes down to injuries,” he said. “Last year we started to roll pretty well at midseason ,and injuries hurt us.” Injuries are crucial to the small teams. You do not just bring a new player in from the bench; you usually have to move players around to fill the void. “On a small team, an injury mixes everything up,” he said. “Kids must play positions that they do not normally play. But usually, the team that wins the championship has avoided the injuries the best.” Coach Frantz summed up his thoughts on the 2021 with his go-to motto. “My motto since I have been here is something I stole from somebody else — ‘hustle, hit and never quit,’ and our kids have taken to it.” KEY-GAME ON THE SCHEDULE – A key contest will be on Oct. 29 when the Crusaders travel to Woodbury to face Flint River Academy. The two teams played tight last 36

CENTRAL CHRISTIAN 2021 COACHING STAFF PHOTO BY MICHAEL CLIFTON

Head Coach Paul Frantz with Sam Terell on the sidelines.

Paul Frantz Head Coach/ Offensive Coordinator Joey Farlow Defensive Coordinator Gerald Dewveall OL/DL

year until Flint River broke things open late. Being a region game at a key point in the season makes it even more important for Central Christian to return to Sharpsburg with a victory. NAMES FROM THE PAST – On Sept. 25, 2015, the Coach Frantz took his Crusaders to LaGrange to face Lafayette Christian in a game for the ages. The game went into the fourth quarter with Central Christian leading 20-16, but an outstanding 64 points were scored by both teams to send the game into overtime tied and 50-50. The Crusaders ended up winning 58-56 to remain undefeated. In that game Central Christian quarterback Jared Farlow completed 20 of 24 passes for 328 yards and six touchdowns. He also added 151 yards rushing and added two more touchdowns. In all, he accounted for eight of the Crusaders’ nine touchdowns. Jacquez Blackmon was his favorite receiver that day. He caught nine passes for 156 yards and four touchdowns. Jared Farlow graduated in 2016 and went on to play college football at the University of Mississippi.


COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE 2021

2021 CENTRAL CHRISTIAN CRUSADERS ROSTER

PHOTO BY MICHAEL CLIFTON

The intelligence and athleticism of Edward “Juice” Bouldin will be a key component to the Crusaders offense.

• • • •

1 Ethan Reeves

land

5 Edward "Juice" Bolden III

36 Josiah Soisson

6 David Hayden

44 Larron Rainey

7 Sam Terrell

47 Mark Hayden

13 Cody Earle

50 Noah Hill

20 Eli Rivers

51 Landon Gregory

21 Ryan Scruggs

53 Josh Harmon

22 Logan Bubel

75 Blake Hearn

25 Anthony "Rerun" Strick-

99 Ben Green

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2021 COWETA KICKOFF GUIDE CENTRAL CHRISTIAN

PHOTO BY MICHAEL CLIFTON

Coach Frantz and his staff understand how to work with a small roster.

CENTRAL CHRISTIAN CRUSADERS

SCHEDULE 2021

8/20 Home North Georgia Falcons 8/27 Away Notre Dame 9/3 Away LaFayette 9/10 OPEN 9/17

Home Patula 9/24 Away Skipstone Academy 10/1 Home Fullington 10/8 OPEN 10/15 Home

Harvester* 10/22 Away John Hancock 10/29 Away Flint River* 11/4 Home Georgia Christian * Region Game

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