Coahulla Creek High School Colts

May 5, 2013

Devin Golden: QB races dominate spring practice storylines

Four of the area’s high school football teams will have to find new names to fill the most highlighted and talked about position on their team.

Three of the teams — Dalton, North Murray and Northwest Whitfield — were arguably the three best from Whitfield and Murray counties.

Heading into spring practices, the biggest questions for the most successful from 2012 regard the quarterback position.

First, who will play it? Then, how good are they? Most important, how good can the team be with him leading your offense?

Regardless of the system a team’s offense uses — Dalton has a run- and play action-based Power-I, North Murray offers the triple option and Northwest uses a shotgun spread — the quarterback gets the most attention and criticism.

“I don’t think there’s a doubt about it,” North Murray coach David Gann said. “The quarterback and the coach are the two that get a lot of the credit and a lot of the blame. I don’t think it matters what system it is. The quarterback is still the one that is looked at more than any other position. A left tackle could miss a block and the quarterback gets sacked, and everyone says, ‘Why didn’t he throw the ball?’”

Dalton, the area’s only team to make the state playoff, is losing Cole Calfee, a three-year starter at the position.

The Catamounts advanced to the second round for the first time since 2005. Calfee’s résume wearing the red and white includes a 19-14 record (23-10 “on the field” after the team was forced to forfeit games during the 2011 season), two postseason berths and a lot of memories handing the ball off to any one of Dalton’s talented running backs.

North Murray, meanwhile, says goodbye to its only starting varsity quarterback in the program’s brief history and possibly the most valuable of any in the area due to the team’s style of offense.

Brady Swilling, who started on varsity since his sophomore season, led the Mountaineers to a 5-5 record, the best in the young program’s three-year life span. In North Murray’s triple-option attack, the quarterback makes every decision. Either he’s handing off to the fullback up the middle, keeping it for a pitch to the running back or turning the corner himself for a sweep. And when the pass option was in play with a receiver crossing the middle or running a streak route, that falls on the quarterback’s shoulders, too.

Swilling, a member of The Daily Citizen’s All-Area Football Team, did this as well as coach David Gann could’ve asked. Headed to Georgia Tech as an invited walk-on, he rushed for 12 touchdowns and an area-best 1,510 yards — more than half of his team’s total tally for the season — and passed for 1,519 yards and 16 touchdowns.

“It kind of shows how much we rely on him because last year’s guy for us was a 1,500-yard rusher and 1,500-yard passer,” Gann said. “So it’s even more important for us.”

Northwest, which finished 6-4 after a brutal triple-overtime loss to Gilmer in the Region 7-4A play-in game to the state playoffs, must replace Silas Ledford. Just starting one season for the Bruins, Ledford threw for more than 2,000 yards in offensive coordinator David Crane’s pass-heavy spread offense.

But if past results says anything, Northwest’s next quarterback will put up similar numbers in a system designed for it. When Crane was Southeast Whitfield’s head coach, Levi Sams broke school records passing for 23 touchdowns and 2,237 yards.

Murray County is the fourth school to lose its starting quarterback. While Brady Todd graduates and leaves an opening, the Indians went 0-10 last season — all 10 losses not close — and new head coach Chad Brewer, formerly Northwest’s defensive coordinator, has a lot more things to work out than that one position.

Southeast and Coahulla Creek will return seniors — Blake Foster for the Raiders and Hunter Williams for the Colts — who played the position at the varsity level last season. Both teams finished 2-8 but improved by the season’s end — note Southeast nearly beating Dalton in the ninth game of the year.

If there is any team not mentioned yet who could stake claim to one of the area’s most successful seasons, then it’s Christian Heritage. The Lions went 5-5 and had a real shot at making the Class A private school state playoffs. Two losses down the stretch ruined that chance, but it was still a good first year for Christian Heritage’s first in GHSA play.

And the Lions have the comfort of bringing back their quarterback, Trevor Brown, for a third season.

What does having a three-year varsity starter at quarterback mean? Well, Dalton’s first year with Calfee was a 7-3 one but no trip to the postseason. The second year (4-7 with the forfeits) ended in the state playoff’s first round. The third year went all the way to the second round and included eight wins. North Murray went 1-9 in its first season with Brady Swilling, 0-10 in the next and 5-5 in the third.

So our outgoing quarterbacks indicate a slope going up in the third year. If that trend continues, then forget having one of the area’s best seasons.

Christian Heritage may have the best season.

Devin Golden is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen. He had three seasons of rushing for 1,500 yards and passing for 1,500 yards on Madden 2011. Contact him at devingolden@daltoncitizen.com.

1
Text Only
Coahulla Creek High School Colts
  • 7on7 championship game6.jpg Bringing in the best

    When high school football coaches look for events to take their teams to during the summer, they are looking for three things — top competition, organization and hospitality.
    For The Daily Citizen’s Southeastern 7-on-7 Championship, the Dalton community and local business leaders take care of the latter. The tournament officials work tirelessly to provide the organization. And the two combined assure the top competition will show up.

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • s-CCHS softball 8.jpg On a mission

    The local girls who visited the Dominican Republic last week on a mission trip through Score International tell a matching story.
    Toward the end of a visit to Pasitos de Jesus, a girls orphanage in Boca Chica, the children began singing the Gospel song “Mighty to Save” to their visitors.
    “It sent chills down your spine,” said Kala Franks, a rising senior at Coahulla Creek High School. “I felt they were ministering to me rather than us ministering to them.”

    June 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • NW softball state championship file 1 mlh.jpg In the lineup again

    When Northwest Whitfield repeated as the Georgia High School Association Class 4A softball state champion last fall, that appeared to be the last time the majority of the Lady Bruins’ senior class would be teammates on the diamond.
    Now, thanks to the Stump on Sports All-Star Softball Classic, five of those six seniors will reunite to play together one more time.

    June 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Junior golf: Hicks able to hang for final round

    Despite giving up a few strokes from Monday’s opening round of 4-over-par 76, Dalton’s Landon Hicks was the only local competitor to advance to the third round of the Georgia Junior Championships.

    June 18, 2014

  • Isabel Salinas 5 mlh.jpg All-Area Spring Female Team: Salinas hoping things keep getting better and better with age

    Isabel Salinas’ freshman season for Southeast Whitfield High School’s track and field team wasn’t up to her standards, and she really isn’t sure why it ended up that way in 2013. It could have been her injuries. It could have been not being in proper shape.
    One thing Salinas, nicknamed “Izzy” by friends and coaches, does know is that her sophomore year went a lot better.

    June 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • s-Foxx file 1 mlh.jpg Creek’s Champ

    Before there were any attempts in the high jump finals Thursday at the Class 3A boys track and field state high school meet at Jefferson High School’s Memorial Stadium, there was some trash talking.
    Coahulla Creek assistant coach Eric Bishop said one of the competitors approached top-seeded Josh Foxx, a Coahulla Creek junior, and told Foxx he was about to run into a wolf.

    May 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Good day sends Dalton boys to state golf tourney

    With a spot in the Class 4A state tournament on the line, Dalton High School’s golf team put together one of its best rounds this season on a course coach Hunter Johnston said was as demanding as any the Catamounts had played this year.

    May 6, 2014

  • cchs v st pius boys tennis3.jpg Can’t win ’em all: Colts fall to St. Pius X

    VARNELL — Just as in other matches this season, there were handshakes and hugs awaiting the members of Coahulla Creek High School’s boys tennis team as they walked off the court Monday.
    Unfortunately for the Colts, this time they were of the comforting rather than the congratulating variety.

    April 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hopkins sisters 2 mlh.jpg Sectionals for sisters

    TUNNEL HILL — When you consider all of the hours of practice, all of the years of gymnastics training and the physical demands of being a cheerleader, the last word you would expect to hear an athlete use to describe herself is “lazy.”

    April 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Creek girls fall short at Oconee Co.

    In 2013, Coahulla Creek’s girls high school tennis team saw their season end on the road at Oconee County in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament.
    Friday in the second round of this year’s tournament, the Lady Warriors again were the team to end the Coahulla Creek season, taking a 3-0 win in Watkinsville. But coach Matt Facey hopes the second-round loss means the Lady Colts will advance at least to the state quarterfinals next season.

    April 26, 2014