(This is part of the AJC’s “30 in 30″ series — with quick hits on top high school football teams across the metro area and state during spring football practice. We’re doing 30 football teams in 30 days. Click here for a master list. Hey AJC, what about spring sports? You know, the non-football sports? Go here)
Perhaps no team wants the football season to kick off more than Stone Mountain.
Last year was the best and worst of times for the Pirates. The DeKalb school was on brink of making the state playoffs for the first time since 2004 under first-year coach Dante Ferguson. However, the GHSA determined on Nov. 5 that Stone Mountain (along with Lithonia) had used an ineligible player and ruled that the Pirates had to forfeit five wins. Stone Mountain’s record was switched from 6-3 to 1-8, which was a devastating turn of events for the team.
However, Ferguson had Stone Mountain looking forward at spring practice, which ended last week.
What did the Pirates accomplish this spring?
For starters. the offensive line lost three starters to graduation. Junior Skip Jackson is projected to start at right guard, while Micah “Snacks” Anderson is penciled in at right tackle. Several talented youngsters are contending for No. 1 left tackle.
At wide receiver, Stone Mountain is stocked with Tamarick Johnson and Fred Scott — who both start in the defensive secondary, too. Octavious Andrews (27 catches for 604 yards, 3 YDs) may be the team’s most talented WR, while Quantavious Metts and Lashae Walls provide depth.
On defense, juniors Timothy Webster and Marcus Eligwe will likely form the linebacker tandem. Sophomore sensation Keyunta Watkins will be the only new starter in Stone Mountain’s veteran secondary.
Who are the team’s all-star candidates?
Michael Gilbert, RB: The senior had 1,035 all-purpose yards and will be starting for a third straight year.
Jhyree Harris, QB: He completed 88 passes for 1,615 yards and 13 TDs with 7 interceptions. He is also a threat to run, rushing for 305 yards and 3 TDs.
Team: Stone Mountain Pirates
Spring Game: Finished
Spring practice dates: Ended
Last year’s record: 1-9
Starters lost: 10
Head coach: Dante Ferguson
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