Northside-Warner Robins Eagles
2012 record: 13-1, 7-0 Region 2-AAAAA, lost in semifinals to Ware County in overtime
Starters returning: 4 offense; 4 defense
Key players lost: WR Keshun Hill, OL Taylor Lay, DL Austin Roberts, LB Trey Payne.
Key players returning: QB Glenn Smith, OL Ty Allen, OL Tyler Martin, Brandon Sandifer, DL A.J. Banks, LB Thomas Brown.
Spring practice dates: April 29 – May 10.
Schedule: Aug. 30 Flowery Branch; Sept. 6 Veterans; Sept. 12 Westside; Sept. 28 Lakeside-Evans; Oct. 4 Houston County; Oct. 11 at Grovetown; Oct. 17 Jones County; Oct. 25 at Greenbrier; Nov. 1 at Warner Robins; Nov. 8 Evans.
Outlook: The Eagles had 38 seniors on last year’s team and entering spring practice they’ll have 55 rising seniors. Losing seven starters on each side would devastate many programs, but there is talent to have another playoff run.
Northside-Warner Robins under Kevin Kinsler has yet to lose a regular-season game, extending the school’s streak of 10-win seasons to 15.
With that sort of long-term success, there is no tempering expectations. So the fact that Nortside lost one of its largest-ever classes (a group of 38 players) isn’t going to elicit sympathy from much of anyone.
“It’s a blessing and a curse,” Kinsler said. “They don’t understand that you did lose 38 seniors. And it was a lot of football players. Fortunately for us the kids expect to step in and get it done. It’s part of the Northside tradition.”
Behind that group of 38 seniors was another class that now has 55 players in it.
“There’s a lof of them. We’ve got to replace almost our entire defensive line, entire secondary and entire receiving corps. We’ve got a lot of question marks, and we’re going to have a lot of competition,” Kinsler said.
The Eagles return just four starters on both sides of the ball, but that’s not to say the cupboard is bare. There is no hint of panic in Kinsler’s voice as he discusses the team’s prospects in 2013.
“We have some really good assistant coaches that do a good job getting those guys ready to play,” he said. “The big thing is thekids have bought in.”
Among players moving on are Keshun Hill, who compiled more than 1,600 total yards and 22 touchdowns last fall, and Curtis Martin, who rushed for 945 yards and 14 TDs.
But coming back is quarterback Glenn Smith, who passed for more than 1,200 yards and rushed for nearly 900 more. Plus, three starters return on the offensive line, which may prove to the team’s strength.
Kinsler said it’s not a foregone conclusion that Smith will start at quarterback, though he’ll certainly play a big role in the Eagles’ offense. iHe’s a strong enough runner to handle a move to another position. Marcus Ivory, the younger brother of former Northside star Marquez Ivory, could get a look under center.
Equally important, the Eagles had 11 wins by 24 points or more in 2012, allowing a lot of players to see the field. If the Eagles fall, don’t expect them to fall far.