2023 Coach of the Year

Some great candidates amongst our 48 schools for our 6th Annual COY award. Winner is determined by 1/3 Viewer vote, 1/3 Panel vote, and 1/3 NwGaFootball Staff vote.

Previous Winners:

’18 Biff Parson (Rockmart)

’19 Preston Poag (North Murray)

’20 Chad Cheatham (Fannin Co)

’21 Scott Peavey (Haralson Co)

’22 Jamie Abrams (Cedartown)

2023 Candidates

Rich Fendley (Bowdon Red Devils): Bowdon lost most of their offensive production off last year’s State Championship Team. What did they do? They went 8-2 this season with losses to #2 Manchester and 7AAAA Region Champ Central by a combined 21 points. They captured their 4th straight Region Title and 5 consecutive post season appearance under Coach Fendley.

Sean Patrick (Trion Bulldogs): The Bulldogs went 10-0 for the 1st time since the 1974 and won a Region Title for the 1st time since 2003. Trion ranked #2 in scoring defense and #3 in scoring offense among all the schools in our Area. This is the 3rd straight trip to the playoffs, and the Bulldogs look to get past the 1st Round in 3 consecutive years for the 1st time since 1981.

Biff Parson (Rockmart Yellow Jackets): Rockmart extended the school record to 7 consecutive Region Titles going 8-2. They played a grueling non Region schedule losing to 4A Cedartown by 1 and 5A playoff team Dalton by 7 in OT. The #5 scoring defense and #7 scoring offense in our Area in 2023.

Jon Cudd (Adairsville Tigers): Our runner up for COY in his rookie season last year. The Tigers lost a lot of production last season losing Chris Roper to graduation but Coach Cudd and his staff coached their way to their 2nd consecutive Region Title for the 1st time since 2001. Adairsville ranked as a Top 10 scoring offense in our Area.

Umbrah Brown (Central Lions): Coach Brown moved over to Central this off season after leading Paulding Co to the playoffs last year in his rookie campaign. The Lions had their first Region Title and 10-0 season since 2014 and winning only their 2nd Region crown since the 1987 State Championship team. The Lions ranked #10 in scoring defense and #6 in scoring offense in our Area.

Conor Foster (Cartersville Purple Hurricanes): It what many thought was a rebuilding year for the Canes they came out and went 10-0 winning the 7-5A Region Title in what some consider the toughest Region in the State. Signature come from behind win at Calhoun coming back from a 14-0 halftime deficit to beat the Jackets on the road. Cartersville got it done this season ranking #4 in scoring defense in our Area.

John Reid (Rome Wolves): Dominate Region performance for the Wolves this season. They outscored their Region opponents 352-29 with most of those points on defense giving up late in the game. Rome captured their 3rd straight Region Title and ranked #1 in both scoring offense and scoring defense in NW/W Ga.

Joey King (Carrollton Trojans): The State Title runner ups from 2022 hit some adversity early in the season when they lost their RB1 in a 39-34 loss to Langston Hughes. The Trojans regrouped and went on a dominate run in 2023 capturing their 2nd Straight Region Title ranking #2 in scoring offense and #3 in scoring defense with a 33-13 signature win over Rome on the road.

Chris Hirschfield (East Paulding Raiders): The Raiders quietly went about being the best team against preseason computer projections in Coach Hirschfield’s 2nd Season at East. They finished with a 6-4 record with losses to North Paulding, Hiram (by a combined 5 points) and to powerhouses Douglas Co and Langston Hughes. East Paulding is headed to the post season for the 1st Time in 5 years as the 3 seed from Region 5-6A.

Pete Fominaya (Hiram Hornets): Hiram finished 8-2 and were only 1 point away from capturing the Region Title. The Hornets finished with the 2 seed and will be hosting a playoff game for the 1st time since 2009. Finished as 5th highest scoring team in our Area at 42.2 points per game.

Kit Carpenter (Dalton Catamounts): The Catamounts graduated a 2000 yd rusher last season and most people had them written off as a rebuilding team in 2023. Dalton went 7-3 and played for the Region Title the final week of the season thanks to a signature win over Calhoun in Week 9. #8 scoring offense in the Area.

Josh Groce (Gordon Lee Trojans): Gordon Lee seemed to be entering a rebuilding year losing most of their production off a 2022 team that failed to make the post season. Starting a large group of Soph and Freshman the Trojans went 6-4 and captured the #4 seed in 6-3A.

Davis Russell (Bremen Blue Devils): The Blue Devils went 8-2 with their only losses coming to defending State Champ Bowdon and a last second loss to Adairsville in the Region Title game. The Blue Devils ranked in the Top 10 all season long in scoring defense and pitched 2 shutouts on the season.

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