New coaches debut at Carrollton, Warner Robins, SWD, Clarke
The folks in the football-crazy town of Carrollton will get an early peek at the new regime when the Trojans play Newnan in the West Georgia Kickoff Classic Thursday at 7 p.m.
Carrollton has a new coach in Sean Calhoun, formerly the Colquitt County offensive coordiantor. He takes over for the retired Ed Dudley, who was 10-12 in his two years and could not attain the level of success enjoyed at the school by Rayvan Teague. The Trojans went to the state title game twice and had double-digit wins in nine of Teague’s 12 seasons.
Carrollton opens the season as the No. 7-ranked team in Class AAAAA. They’re likely to air it out and be more aggressive on offense. His 2015 Colquitt County team set a state record for the most points scored in a season in the highest classification.
Calhoun is deciding which quarterback will start – Mark Wright or Andy Smith, who have been going back-and-forth since the spring. They’ll have a rock on the offensive line in Case Cook (6-6, 270), who has signed with Missouri.
The two are old rivals – they first played in 1910, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association – and resumed the series in 2014. Newnan leads the series 14-11-1 and has won the last two meetings, including 34-13 in 2015.
Four other games to watch this weekend:
Warner Robins vs. Northside Warner Robins: Mike Chastain doesn’t need any introduction to the biggest rivalry in middle Georgia when he begins his career as the head coach at Warner Robins on Friday at McConnell-Talbott Stadium. Chastain, formerly the offensive coordinator at Houston County, played at Northside. And although he was raised as an Eagle, he claims there’s not an item of blue clothing (Northside’s color) is his cardinal-dominated closet.
Warner Robins (7-4 in 2015) is expected to sling the ball around a lot more than it did under coach Bryan Way. That was how Chastain operated at Houston, where he had All-America quarterback Jake Fromm. Until a quarterback is established, veteran running back Javarian Bradford-Jackson may get more work, especially with standouts Tramontez Raybon (6-7, 350) and Christian Armstrong (6-6, 290) back at tackle.
Northside has dominated the series for the last 20 years, winning 15 times, including 58-14 in 2015. Warner Robins leads the series 34-24 and its most recent win was 28-18 in 2013.
Redan vs. Southwest DeKalb (Saturday): There will be heavy hearts at Godfrey Stadium when these two teams resume their rivalry. It will be the first time Southwest DeKalb has been on the field without coach Michael Tanks, who died of a stroke on July 25. Tanks succeeded Buck Godfrey as coach in 2013 and was 12-18 in three years. Veteran coach Fletcher Salter, a longtime Godfrey lieutenant, will serve as interim head coach. Salter spent six seasons at McNair and compiled a 38-28 record.
The rivalry between the two south DeKalb foes has been one-sided in Southwest’s favor. The Panthers own a 31-2 record and have won three straight, including 52-0 a year ago. Redan’s last win over Southwest came in 2004.
Winder-Barrow at Clarke Central: A new regime starts at Clarke Central when former University of Georgia baseball coach David Perno takes the reigns. Perno played for the Gladiators and was part of the undefeated 1985 state championship team, the last won by legendary coach Billy Henderson. One of Perno’s first hires was offensive coordinator Mike Gunn, who was head coach at Athens Academy for 23 seasons and went 194-72-1. Clarke Central was 4-6 last year and hasn’t made the playoffs since 2013.
Winder-Barrow is coming off back-to-back 6-5 seasons, the first time the Bulldoggs have experienced consecutive winning seasons since 1993-94.
Clarke Central leads the series 12-2, but Winder-Barrow has won the last two meetings, including 21-17 in 2015.
Decatur at McIntosh: The two teams should be right in the middle of the playoff picture in their leagues – Decatur in Region 6, McIntosh in Region 3. Decatur is coming off back-to-back 6-4 seasons and is seeking its first playoff berth since 2013. McIntosh was 4-6 in 2015 and looks to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2014. It will be the first meeting between the two schools.
Buford, Kell in Corky Kell Classic: No. 1-ranked Buford opens on Friday against Roswell at 5:30 p.m. at McEachern. No. 5 Kell opens on Saturday at 9 a.m. against Tucker at the Georgia Dome. Click here for capsule previews of those games.