50 in 50: East Paulding

The 2012 season was one of transition for the East Paulding football team.

John Reid, who built the Raiders into a state power, left to become the coach at Tift County. Taking over for Reid was former Walton defensive coordinator Chuck Goddard, whose last head coaching job was at Wheeler in 2005.

Reid’s teams were 60-15 in his six years at East Paulding. Before his arrival, the Raiders had just three winning seasons since starting the program in 1991.

One year later, the transition appears to have been a success. Goddard led East Paulding to the Region 5-AAAAA championship and a second-round appearance in the playoffs.

“We were fortunate enough to win the region last year and go undefeated during the regular season,” Goddard said. “There were some questions before I got there, but that made the transition a little bit smoother. But every year is a new year, and in our business you have to prove yourself year in and year out. I’ve relaxed in that I feel I’ve been accepted, but there’s still a lot of pressure when you’re at a place like East Paulding because the people are so passionate about their football. There’s still the pressure to do well because the bar has been set there.”

For the success to continue in Goddard’s second season, the Raiders will have to replace 12 starters, including seven from an offensive unit that averaged 38.5 points for the season and 42.5 in the regular season.

Among the key losses are running backs Kamani Thomas (signed with Middle Tennessee) and Kyler Neal (Georgia State), who each rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season. Another important offensive weapon who graduated is kicker Miles Hemphill, who kicked a 61-yard field goal in the playoff loss to Stephenson.

But quarterback Mitchell Webb returns, as do three of the team’s best offensive linemen.

“I’m really kind of excited in that we have what I think are some good young players, and I’m really just excited to see what they can do,” Goddard said. “I don’t know if they’ll be as good as what we graduated, because what we graduated was really, really good. But they’re going to be good players. We have what we feel like will be four good, quality running backs that are coming back. Will they be as good as the players we lost? I don’t know, but I’m excited to see what they’re going to do.”

On defense, the Raiders will lose linebacker Lorenz Suttles, the Region 5-AAAAA player of the year who signed with North Carolina A&T. But they will return six starters from a unit that allowed just nine points per game during the regular season.

East Paulding has had a winning record in each of the past seven seasons, including five years with 10 or more victories, and has been to the playoffs six times during that stretch.

“Football is important at East Paulding High School, and it is to our kids,” Goddard said. “So they accept the challenge. They want to come out there and keep the tradition going that’s been going on here for the past five or six years. We’re looking forward to it, but we will have some growing pains along the way.”

East Paulding Raiders

2012 record: 11-1, 10-0 in Region 5-AAAAA, lost to Stephenson 35-6 in the second round of the Class AAAAA playoffs.

Starters returning: 4 offense, 6 defense

Key players lost: RB Kamani Thomas, PK Miles Hemphill, RB Kyler Neal, LB Lorenz Suttles, TE Aaron Black, WR Marcus Gilbert

Key players returning: QB Mitchell Webb, OL Connor Christian, OL Tanner Ledbetter, DL Dylon Coleman

Spring practice dates: May 1-17

Schedule:

Aug. 30 – North Paulding

Sept. 6 – at Woodland-Cartersville

Sept. 13 – at Paulding County

Sept. 20 – New Manchester

Sept. 27 – at Villa Rica

Oct. 11 – Hiram

Oct. 18 – at Rome

Oct. 25 – South Paulding

Nov. 1 – Lithia Springs

Nov. 8 – at Allatoona

Outlook: East Paulding coach Chuck Goddard expects the race in Region 5-AAAAA to be tighter than it was last year, when the Raiders and Allatoona established themselves early and ran away from the pack. The key for East Paulding in 2013 will be replacing running backs Kamani Thomas and Kyler Neal, who have been mainstays in the backfield for the past three years. Thomas leaves as the school’s all-time leading rusher (4,801 yards) after running for a school-record 1,950 yards as a senior.

15 comments Add your comment

sportsnut

May 14th, 2013
9:37 am

Good Luck this season, FNLF

John

May 14th, 2013
9:44 am

Allatoona likely is the team to beat in Region 5-AAAAA this year. Rome is ready to return to the level the Wolves played at between 2000 and 2008 when they were one of the winningest programs in the state and reached the quarterfinals or beyond six times in nine years. They have the talent returning and in the pipeline to stay there for the next decade.

G-dub

May 14th, 2013
12:04 pm

Good luck Raiders….Love to hear the cannon go boom.

FridayNightLightsFan

May 14th, 2013
6:53 pm

Thank Sportsnut. It should be an interesting year for us both. Thanks for the article Chip!!

Any news where Miles ended up?

reid fan

May 15th, 2013
7:21 am

Congratulations on your first winning season. Good thing the cubbard was far from bare. SV is a good friend – you should hire him – he is probably a good coach based on NP’s recent success

Billbo Baggins

May 15th, 2013
7:24 am

Mitchell Webb is the BOMB………….

Chip Saye

May 15th, 2013
12:35 pm

@FNLF … when I talked to Coach Goddard last week, he said they were still working on someplace for Hemphill to play. It looked like Georgia Southern for a while, but that didn’t pan out. So they’re still working on it.

FootballTopFan(c)

May 15th, 2013
12:40 pm

FootballTopFan(c) would like to congratulate the East Paulding Raiders and head coach Chuck Goodard on an impressive 2012 season !!!

The Raiders were undefeated until losing in the playoffs.

East Paulding will be a strong force in Class AAAAA.

Football Top Fan supports high school football.

raider for life!

May 15th, 2013
12:41 pm

wish we could have gotten coach glanton back,he is the one who really got the ball rolling here and got us on the winning track not john reid

in the know

May 15th, 2013
8:38 pm

John Reid built that program with some quality coaches out of Tenn combined with some holdovers from Glanton’s staff. The biggest contributors were the Paris brothers who built the current fieldhouse. They continue to support the program and community despite Viness’ personal choice. Do you know any other coach besides Glanton? He is a good man. His coaching has not been adjusted with modern times. FB practices are upbeat/high tempo with maximum reps for all position groups. This necessitates quality assistants well trained by the HC. JR is super organized and effective – especially in a weak region. The current R-5 is weak. EPHS is a big fish in a small pond. Their current HC is an idiot who will soon be exposed. JR runs circles around both Glanton & Goddard. What Viness did was a sin!

raider for life!

May 16th, 2013
7:18 am

@in the know,i agree that the current HC is certainly not the sharpest tool in the shed

in the know

May 16th, 2013
8:55 am

When Reid left, the whole Raider Mentality/mystique left also. Thank goodness, 2 of Reid’s guys stayed on to keep the ship rolling. It is only a matter of time b4 fraker replaces “good” ole CG. I wish Glanton good luck @ KSU. To attempt to give him credit for the program’s success is wrong. His coaching cannot compare

East-Raider!

May 16th, 2013
8:48 pm

as an east paulding player our mentality was created by ourselfs we work hard as a team and thats why we win so to all who think a coach can do that your wrong its the heart of the player who does and im proud to say that coach goddard is my coach all of yall here is what people tell you but you dont see what he does so there thats all you need to know.

All I have to say is.......

May 17th, 2013
1:48 pm

@ East-Raider…..AMEN!!! The players on this team KNOW the true meaning of being a LEADER. Yes, the coach is important but the players have been winners for many years and will continue to pass down those leader qualities. So, never underestimate this team. ALOT of people did last year and you see what happened.

As for the coach……great man and is TRUE to his word. That can’t be said about most football coaches.

in the know

May 19th, 2013
9:07 am

“great man/true to his word” ? Laughable! If going to church and saying everything the kids and parents want to hear outwardly makes you great, then your assessment would be correct. One career winning season with a “boatload” of talent created by a magnificent community and previous quality coaching will not continue unfortunately. This community deserves far better – it is one of the best jobs in the state. CG did not earn this with merit – he is a benefactor of timing/good ole boy network plaguing society . It is only a matter of time b4 the sordidness of his hiring is revealed. But, I guess winning solves everything? So, just win BABY!