Stockbridge coach Kevin Whitley has wanted to play this game since he arrived at the school in north Henry County three years ago. M.L. King’s is a program Whitley feels the Tigers are measured against. It’s a game that will help prepare Whitley’s club for the better teams in Region 4-AAAA.
Still, there was more to it than that. Stockbridge has never played M.L. King, but in a sense the Tigers have been competing against the Lions since the DeKalb County school opened in 2002.
“My first year here we went to a passing league and played M.L. King and there were three or four kids that should have been at Stockbridge,” Whitley said. “When I got here probably the best program in the county was Union Grove, and M.L. King is in a different county but they’re close to us. We had kids that should have been at Stockbridge that were transferring to those other schools.”
Whitley said he wanted to show the parents in Stockbridge they don’t have to transfer somewhere else to get their sons into good football programs.
“When the opportunity came to play ML King, we needed to at least see where we were,” Whitley said.
TROJAN TRIALS: The saying about football teams that are playoff regulars is that they don’t rebuilt, they reload.
Carrollton has been good enough long enough that the outside thoughts about the Trojan program probably fall along those lines.
That may be how their 2012 season develops, but there may be some bumps along the road.
“It’s definitely going to be one of the most challenging years we’ve had, and we have probably the least experienced team we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Carrollton coach Rayvan Teague said. “And we’re playing probably the toughest schedule we’ve had since I’ve been here.”
Teague said the Trojans lost nine starters on offense and nine on defense, and preseason injuries have hampered the team’s development.
He knows none of the team’s opponents, beginning with Oxford (Ala.) Friday night, are going to feel sorry for them.
“We’re going to get everybody’s A game no doubt.”
Teague enters the season looking for a milestone win. He needs one win to officially reach 200, though a handful of forfeits during his tenure at Swainsboro mean the on-field total has already gone over 200.
“I’ve been fortunate to be around a lot of good kids, good programs, with a lot of support from communities,” said Teague, who is 106-18 in 10 seasons at Carrollton. “It’s a milestone you look at when you get into coaching. I thought if I could win 200 games I’d prove myself as a really solid coach, but I was thinking in terms of averaging seven a year for 30 years. We’ve been able to do it in 22.”
MOUNTAIN RUNNERS – Stephens County RB Chaz Thornton (2,179 rushing yards as a junior) headlines a season opener at Franklin County in a Northeast Georgia cross-class showdown. Franklin counters with RB Andrew Heaton.
NO MORE O-FER: In winning its season opener 19-13 over West Hall, Johnson-Gainesville snapped a 12-game losing streak that dates back to the 2010 season. The Knights, who lost to West Hall 35-21 in 2011, gave new head coach Jason Roquemore a nice welcome-to-Hall County win behind the running of Cedric Harris, who had 178 yard on 39 carries according to The Gainesville Times.