We will take a look at the Regions that include a majority of NwGa teams and let you know who we think might be ready to get over the hump and return to the post season in 2021.
The Bulldogs enter their 2nd season under Head Coach Sean Patrick and return the majority of their starters from 2020. Solid offense with RB Rob Brown and WR Linkin Farrer returning along with a healthy QB in rising Junior Logan Eller and Cole Cavin who is a big target at the TE spot. The key to making the post season for the Bulldogs will be the defense, which allowed 25 points a game last season in Region play. Senior’s Brantley Willbanks (100+ tackles in ’20), Kaleb Park, and Zach Sharp are several names returning that will give Trion experience on defense in 2021.
In a 5 team Region there is only 1 option to choose from. The Tigers missed the playoffs in the highly competitive 5AA by 1 point in 2020. On paper you would think this would be a down year in 2021 having to replace several key players from 2020 including RB Phillip Johnson (Army) , DE Justin Isler (Appalachian State), and OL Wyatt Bixler (Berry) . Rising Junior QB Cam Vaughn returns and will have 4 experienced targets to throw to, Kael Whiddon, Carter Kittrell, Shemar Wicker, and Sammie Zimbron . The Tigers will still be solid on defense with Rising Seniors Javon Moore, Shemar Wicker, and 6’2 230 LB Qua Martin among the returning starters and throw is young guys like Rising Junior Daniel Long and Sophomore Freddy Watkins and you have a solid, big bodied defense.
The Eagles were 4-4 last season under 1st year Head Coach Joey Mathis. Covid 19 threw a monkey wrench in their Region in ’20 schedule forcing them the cancel 2 games. A little bird told me they have been making gains in the weight room this off season and they will not be lacking in size. 6’2 270 Senior Deolis Millsap and Junior Aiden Morgan anchor an experienced defensive line. Rising Junior Hayden McBurnett is slated to return at the QB spot. The one spot the Eagles will be looking to fill this Summer is the running back spot. They graduated Terry Curry and Jaxon Thomas and Billy Settlemoir is now at Chattooga.
The Tigers missed the playoffs last year on the tiebreaker. They averaged over 30pts a game on offense last season and they return most of their weapons. QB Mason Parker had a good season in ’20 and he will have WR’s Malachi Hill and Jevon Coney returning as downfield targets. RB Kori Dumas had a breakout season in ’20, rushing for over 1000 yds, and with a good offseason could be one of the top backs in NwGA for 2021. On defense 3x All Region safety Kyle White returns for his final season and is joined by Marcus Fortson in the defensive backfield. If the Tigers find what they need this season at LB and across they front they could not only compete for a playoff spot but maybe a 1st round homefield game.