50 in 50: Marist

If the Marist War Eagles thrive in the post-Myles Willis era this fall, a small note of thanks might be due those who adopted new helmet rules for the 2012 season. The rule, which required a player to leave the game for at least one play if his helmet came off during play, resulted in then-backup Chase Martenson getting some meaningful playing time while the War Eagles were rolling up a 12-2 record and an appearance in the Class AAAA state semifinals.

“Myles’ helmet was flying off early in the season and Chase went in there against Clarke Central and had a big bootleg pass for a big third-down conversion,” Marist coach Alan Chadwick said. “Against Lovett he did the same thing, went in and converted a huge third-down opportunity for us. He’s been under the pressure, plus he’s gone against our defense the last two years in practice. He’s worked really hard.”

So the veteran coach, owner of 311 career victories in 28 years, seems unworried about replacing the team’s most productive offensive player.

The Marist stats from 2012 reveal that the War Eagles lost their top two rushers, including quarterback Myles Willis, who accounted for nearly all of the passing yardage, as well as their top two tacklers in Jason Morris and Nick Carrier, as well as Taboada, whose 17 total tackles included 13 for lost yardage.

Given those things, it would be understandable Chadwick to sing the blues about his team’s prospects, but you don’t get to 311 career wins by panicking. Chadwick’s voice is the epitome of calm.

“I’m encouraged by what I see right now,” said Chadwick, whose team opened spring practice this week. “The kids have worked hard. To me it’s not as bleak as it usually is.”

That is not to say that there aren’t questions. No. 1 on the list is the defensive secondary, where the War Eagles will trot out all new faces when they open Aug. 30 against Clarke Central. Close behind that is how to replace Willis, Stanford-bound TE Greg Taboada, whom Chadwick says could be the best player ever to come through the Marist program, and HB Gray King, the second-leading rusher from a year ago.

But each of those points has a counterpoint, though. Chadwick has confidence in Martenson and HB The War Eagles return the bulk of their defensive front seven, including DT Kendall Baker, who has multiple offers from ACC and SEC schools, and Kenneth Brinson, and even with the loss of Taboada, Chadwick believes the strength up front could take some pressure off the defensive backs.

“I like the fact that we’re going to have more depth particularly on our line of scrimmage and linebackers,” he said. “We’ve just got to develop a few more football players so we’re not having to play Kendall Baker, Kenneth Brinson and Jack Trainor as much on offense. We’ve got to find some guards on offense.

Marist War Eagles

2012 record: 12-2, 5-0 Region 6-AAAA Division A, lost to Ridgeland in state semifinals

Starters returning: 6 offense; 5 defense

Key returning players: DE Kenneth Brinson, DT Kendall Baker, LB Michael Toner, LB Lott Gwin, FB Griffin King, RB Marcus Miller, OT Sean McVay, OT Matt Hoey

Key players lost: QB Myles Willis, RB Gray King, TE/DE Greg Taboada

Spring practice dates: Now through May 17

Schedule: Aug. 30 Clarke Central; Sept. 6 at Thomas County Central; Sept. 13 Lovett; Sept. 20 at Therrell; Oct. 4 Columbia; Oct. 11 at Lithonia; Oct. 18 Redan; Oct. 25 at Stone Mountain; Nov. 1 Chamblee; Nov. 8 region play-in game.

Outlook: The War Eagles haven’t missed the playoffs since 1982 and only twice since then have they won fewer than nine games. So it’s hard to imagine them missing the postseason in 2013. Still, they’ll have to overcome major losses in the secondary and offensive skilled positions to stay among the elite in Class AAAA.

41 comments Add your comment

sportsnut

May 9th, 2013
12:15 pm

Hey WarEagle == Good luck this upcoming season.

some sense

May 9th, 2013
12:54 pm

Talkin’ some serious, no bs high school football here. Great kids, great coaches, great school.

Metro Fan

May 9th, 2013
1:01 pm

Move on up to AAAAA anytime you’d like that playoff streak broken… Reclassificaiton is next spring if you feel the need to be put in your place by the real DeKalb County football teams. Myles was also clearly more vital to their success these past few years than Taboada… If Marist has ever had a better one than him, it definitely hasn’t had a better quarterback.

War Eagle Alum

May 9th, 2013
1:50 pm

Metro Fan – you obviously have no idea how the classifications work. They are based on student body enrollment. With that in mind, Marist could be playing in AA, but chooses to play TWO classifications up. And if Marist did move up to AAAAA, they would make the playoffs there as well. These kids are disciplined, super intelligent, and know how to run the system inside and out. The coaching staff is arguably the best in the state. So, whoever these “real Dekalb County teams” are, bring them on.

Big Fan

May 9th, 2013
2:21 pm

I love the smack

SWD Panther Paw

May 9th, 2013
2:50 pm

War Eagle Alum – the real dekalb teams are M.L. King, Stephenson and Tucker. You guys did the math when deciding to play up or stay down. There would have been only one spot left to fight over between Mays, Marist and SWD. The odds were not
as good. You’re right you guys are super intelligent.

Dekalb Co Guy

May 9th, 2013
7:59 pm

Without a doubt, Marist is one of the most sound programs in the state. I would consider them to be among the Dekalb elite for sure. And you cant knock them, because they do play up 2 classes. Not sure they would be a playoff team had they played in 5A though, That might be asking too much to play up 3 classes. It would have been close for sure.

That Dude Says...

May 9th, 2013
8:17 pm

@ Metro Fan… Have you ever heard of Matt Harpring? He was the best QB Marist has ever had.

WarEagle

May 9th, 2013
8:53 pm

@sportsnut — Thank you; good luck to Lovejoy this season.

@Metro Fan and @SWD Panther Paw: Tell you what — when your schools agree to play up 1 class, we’ll consider playing up 3 classes. Until then, playing up 2 classes is just fine. Last I checked (just now), Marist is 7-1 vs SWD since 2002 and 5-1 vs Mays since 2000; Tucker has had our number, but the battles have been epic. While we would compete fine in 5A, it is probably a bit much to ask our school to play schools 3X our size every week in every sport.

Myles and Taboada were both great players, as were many others in the graduating senior class. Will be tough to replace them, but that is the beauty of high school football. Our coaches and our students are dedicated to trying their best to keep the long blue line going. Look forward to watching another season this fall.

Ben

May 9th, 2013
8:54 pm

That quarterback when Marist last won state in 2003 was fast; forget his name at the moment…Sean McVay? Could he be their best all time?
I admire Marist for playing up 2 classes; doubt they would advance as far in playoffs in 5A but would often reach them because a good sound program can get you to the first round most of the time. They sure would’ve won more titles in AA or AAA. As far as I know only private school to play up.

GAHSFBFAN24

May 9th, 2013
9:31 pm

The only real Dekalb county football program is Tucker. MLK and Stephenson choke in the playoffs every year despite all that D-1 talent. Marist’s coaching staff could take that talent and win the state championship every year in any class.

Furman Paladin Death Dealer

May 9th, 2013
10:45 pm

How do you explain only AA enrollment and all these can’t miss D-1 prospects currently there and from the past? Gonna take the high road here and say that the War Eagles are just lucky to find these talented football players in their student population and are definitely not recruiting. No one recruits in high school ball anymore. The GHSA put an end to recruiting, in case you haven’t heard.

Bwolves

May 10th, 2013
6:20 am

In fairness to Marist, it IS a private school and parents with the means will pay to send their kids to a good school. I’d say the school and program recruits itself, they don’t have to go out and look for students or players. If Dekalb “in general” didn’t have such lousy schools, parents wouldn’t seek out private schools for their kids to attend.

Jacketaxe

May 10th, 2013
6:29 am

Ben Calhoun actually beat Ridgeland last year, so don,t just give the aa title to Marist and Jefferson showed Calhoun the bus.

Marist is indeed a top program.

Stringer Bell

May 10th, 2013
6:31 am

I can’t wait to see the Woodward Academy War Eagles!

Rich DRB

May 10th, 2013
6:37 am

Any fool who thinks Marist isnt Dekalb elite is lost! Ima former Tucker football player and Marist always has been a good team with good coaching. The region Stephenson and MLK in now is region 6-AAAAA formerly region 6-AAAA that Marist did very well in outside of us every year and have a state title to show for it, much respect to that program

SWD Panther Paw

May 10th, 2013
8:03 am

Ok…..all you Marist worshippers…we all know Marist has one of the best programs money can buy and recruits where needed. You can’t have it both ways. Marist can hold the flag up for themselves without you guy’s coming to the rescue. Boy! you people are so sensitive. Smile :>)

War Eagle Alum

May 10th, 2013
8:16 am

If Marist, or any other private school, recruited don’t you think you would see rosters stacked with D1 talent? Most kids at Marist start in 7th grade. So if Marist is recruiting, they are targeting 6th graders?
Seriously?

Metro Fan

May 10th, 2013
8:20 am

You country club All-Americans sound like South Georgia, reminiscing of the glory days before everyone else had year-round programs… Marist will never win state in a revenue sport again, regardless of how many recruits you have or what classification you choose. AAAAAA you would not make the playoffs; AAAAA you would battle for the 4 seed in region 6 (which just upgraded coaching with offseason hires and boasts a couple of up and coming programs to go with the best program on the eastside); AAAA you are not ready for Sandy Creek (or Burke) even if the game is played inside the Vatican; AAA ask St. Pius X (owner of a nice little win streak against you of late) how much fun it is to play Buford (another private school, really)… I would give y’all the nod in AA, but in the meantime just enjoy your lacrosse, tennis, cross country, golf, squash, badminton, soccer, curling, ice hockey, and luge dominance. No one in GA wants any of your alpine ski team blue chippers, either. I will be somewhere laughing WHEN you lose in the playoffs… AGAIN. But hopefully your witty and debonnaire scholar-athletes grace us with more of this… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3__gJ7ySQg #maybenextyear

Carver Panther 1

May 10th, 2013
8:25 am

The war eagles destroyed my Caver Panthers in the Region championship last year. This was all because of scheme and Myles Willis. This year we will have the seasoned quarterback and an SEC like defense, with arguably the best secondary in the state, so I look forward to that match up this year. It won’t be a repeat of last year. You can take that to the bank.

Class of 1998

May 10th, 2013
8:31 am

GO WAR EAGLES!!!

Pack7671

May 10th, 2013
8:53 am

Matt Harpring was not Marist’s best QB of all time. Note even close…The Perez brothers, Sean Cotter, Sean McVay, Matt Davis, Seth Chadwick were all better than Matt and I played with Matt.

Tiger4Life

May 10th, 2013
8:55 am

Good Luck on the season War Eagles, and see you guys on Aug. 16th !!!

ALL TUCKERRED UP

May 10th, 2013
9:09 am

Who else would get all these posts? Congratulations!!!! Tucker might have had more athletes, but Marist could win on coaching & using our athletisism against us. They also have the disipline at all times. JUST ALOT OF FUN !!!

Jefferson

May 10th, 2013
9:12 am

Metro fan, pay attention. The top programs in AA,AAA, and AAAA — any team could win on a given night.

Da Coach

May 10th, 2013
10:15 am

Shouldn’t hate so much Metro Fan, it isn’t good for you.

Metro Fan

May 10th, 2013
11:57 am

Who’s hating? I pull for y’all when you play away from 285, and I genuinely enjoyed the video… Let’s keep it real though, Marist is a fencing/equestrian school! Tucker will remind everyone of this, YET AGAIN, come August… Your sense of entitlement makes your inevitable defeats that much more satisfying!

Metro Fan

May 10th, 2013
11:58 am

Maybe next year… If y’all drop down to AA!

Da Coach

May 10th, 2013
12:29 pm

Again Metro Fan, hating isn’t good for you; but hey, if you want to put down some high school kids, that’s your prerogative.

WarEagle

May 10th, 2013
3:01 pm

@Metro Fan — judging by the Directors Cup results every year, Marist does a bit more than fencing! LOL. Added track and field title to our resume this year. Lots of success in football, baseball, basketball, soccer, wrestling, etc. Thanks for posting — who do you support? I’m guessing Marist has more titles than your team.

Tucker fans — ya’ll are always a classy bunch. Miss the great games; scrimmage will be fun, but ain’t the same!

MUCKFARIST

May 11th, 2013
5:03 pm

War Eagle Alum Having personally seen it yes they are recruiting sixth seventh and eighth graders. They traded to steal pius’s star linebacker/fullback from pius when he was in 7th and 8th grade. After the marist game in which dalton absolutely destroyed your supposedly all everything kenneth brinson Chadwick came over and tried to sweet talk him. Not to mention the fact that Marist sends out mail to any middle school player in metro-Atlanta who they’ve seen and is really good. Next time before you try to be sarcastic make sure it’s not the truth. How can marist be in this 50 in 50 the next time they win state in will be in 50? MUCK FARIST

WarEagle

May 11th, 2013
5:48 pm

“They traded to steal pius’s star linebacker/fullback from pius when he was in 7th and 8th grade” — interesting, since Pius starts in 9th grade. Whatever.

Lovely St. Pius Fan

May 11th, 2013
5:54 pm

Classy post there, SPX fan — I guess you know something about waiting almost 50 years for a football championship:

St Pius last state championship in football — 1968
Marist last state championship in football — 2003
Marist vs St. Pius all-time: 30-15-3. Last 30 games: 25-4-1.

Huh?

May 11th, 2013
5:59 pm

“Not to mention the fact that Marist sends out mail to any middle school player in metro-Atlanta who they’ve seen and is really good.” Wow, how sneaky of them — thanks for blowing the lid off of that scandal. Do they also publish their phone number in the church bulletin?

Don't worry about it

May 12th, 2013
1:37 pm

@MUCKFARIST I should have you know that as a classmate and teammate of Kenneth’s, Dalton never scored on our starting defense. Also, both of those games were AT st pius so Chadwick was not there to “sweet talk him.” I should also add that for the record, the Marist Class of 2015 has never lost to St Pius in football. On a side note, Kenneth wrestled Dalton in 8th and 9th grade and won handily both times. At the end of the day, valiant effort, but #maybenextyear ;)

NoDistrictLinesInDekalb

May 13th, 2013
9:13 am

I just wondering how that basketball player from lakeside landed at marist? Hmm good choice since now he is on his way to GT. Oh yes and the other forward you got from the pius feeder by less money to go to Marist when clearly your tution is higher. Car pool included.But at least they are good students and they get to move on in the next step.
Since you are a catholic school just what is the percentage of catholic students is? Less than 50%….do you even have a catholic coach in the major sports?
Not a big fan of Marist but credit is due when you start kids playing in the same system since 7th grade. It is a big plus when they are varsity players and someone TRIES to show them something new in football well guess what it is not new they have seen it before and they don’t get flustered. Coaching point here so all Dekalb schools that your players jump around every year from school to school you may have heard the word consistency you won’t win the big one without it. In Dekalb they sell the heck out of player programs because otherwise you can’t tell the players without them. Oh and by the way HC Cadwick seen him at Adams watching county football games. Don’t know the reason why he would go there just sayin !

WarEagle

May 13th, 2013
10:13 am

@NoDistrictLinesInDekalb: Good to see you posting again. To answer your question, Marist is approximately 75% Catholic students — the school’s expressed goal is to have about 25% of the student body non-catholic (for reasons that have nothing to do with sports, btw). And yes, several of the coaches are Catholic; many are not — do you think Marist should only be allowed to employ Catholic teachers and coaches? Seems silly. In football, many at the varisty level are alumni. Glad we have coaches and teachers working the community to spread the word and try to convince families to send their students to the Marist — families have lots of choices, public, private, and home school, and I see nothing wrong with trying to convince families to send their kids to Marist. A lot harder to get into Marist than it is for a great running back to transfer from Dunwoody H.S. to Tucker (just hypothetical, of course!).

sportsnut

May 13th, 2013
10:55 am

I graduated in 76′ and Marist was a power in my day. It is hard to knock a program that is consistantly good. Coach Chadwick is as good as they come.

Coach Of APS

May 13th, 2013
10:57 am

@Carver Panther Yes U all will Have a Great Secondary Lil Aaron &Crew put in Work every sunday along with them Mays High Raider’s….. Carver will also have one the best freshman RB it will be Good to see him on the Field Early……

WarEagle

May 13th, 2013
11:49 am

Carver’s Delondo Crooks will be tough to replace — not just his great play, but also his leadership. RB Taylor also will be missed, small but incredibly quick. Carver-Atlanta is a program moving in the right direction and will be a challenge.

NoDistrictLinesInDekalb

May 14th, 2013
8:36 am

@WarEagle when Dunwoody gets their own school district they will drop down and maybe the two schools will play each other again. That will be a good gate for both teams that is if the county will let them rent a stadium.