Dalton High School Catamounts

August 5, 2013

Defensive frame of mind

DHS football has big questions on offense

Last season, Dalton High School’s football team had a lot of youth on defense. This season, that’s where the experience is.

The Catamounts enter 2013 coming off their best season in eight years. Dalton reached the second round of the Class 4A state playoffs after starting the year 2-3, but a 24-19 victory at home versus rival Northwest Whitfield launched a six-game winning streak which included the first playoff win since 2005.

The 2012 offense had eight seniors — including three-year starter Cole Calfee at quarterback — while the defense returned just four. This year, it’s flipped. The Cats defense brings back nine players who started in at least one game last season and received considerable time in any game they were active.

And coach Matt Land couldn’t help but acknowledge the defense’s depth and experience, especially at linebacker and secondary, at the program’s Parent Day Saturday after the team returned from the annual preseason camp held at Tusculum College in Greenville, Tenn.

“We have a lot of returning experience on defense,” Land said. “We have nine guys that started but only five true returning starters. So you have a lot of experience back there. ... Last year we had a lot of young guys and most of them were on defense. With that being the case, offense had to be the big brother to a degree. This year, I’d like to think it’s a little more balanced.

“One of our concerns (in the) preseason is on the line of scrimmage, offensive and defensive,” Land said.

 

The only returning starter on the defensive front is senior Jordan Keener, but seniors Chipper Elrod and Chase Todd are in the lead for the two defensive end positions.

“I think the defense is going to be the threshold of the team,” Keener said. “The offense just isn’t as experienced as the defense is.”

Land called the camp “one of the most physical camps” the program has had. He attributed it to one less day of work, due to the college’s school schedule and the GHSA’s heat acclimation and game schedule. Dalton hosts Ringgold Aug. 23, one week before most teams play their first game.

Land said there are still many positions up for grabs on offense.

“There are many, many guys fighting for positions — ones not won at camp that will continue into this week and even the scrimmage and first game,” Land said.

“The great thing about us this year is we look like we’ll have pretty good depth. Last season we had anywhere from 25-32 kids playing in a game, and this year doesn’t seem much different.”

One of those positions still up for grabs is quarterback. Payton Veraldi, a junior, and sophomore Jase Chastain are the two front runners.

“Neither guy has distanced himself,” Land said. “Right now they both help our team in their own unique way.”

Land said a pleasant surprise from the camp was the emergence of two freshmen who could earn starting positions. Zek Cobb could play wide receiver or running back, and Tucker Sumner could earn reps at fullback.

1
Text Only
Dalton High School Catamounts
  • NW_DHS Swimming 6 mlh.jpg Todd leaving DHS swim after 16 years

    Throughout his 17 years with the Carpet Capital Aquatic Club and his 16 years with the Dalton High and Dalton Middle School swim programs, Charles Todd has received looks and offers from other areas.
    But with his youngest child Chase still in school and his wife playing a major role in the Whitfield County Division of Family and Children Services, Todd wasn’t looking to make a move.

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • 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

  • Wil Cushman 3 mlh.jpg Cushman’s gamble is paying off

    Wil Cushman never had to worry about establishing his high school’s swimming and diving program. Dalton already had a full roster and championship history.
    His first two years at Birmingham Southern University, though, have been all about making sure the beginning wasn’t the end.

    June 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 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

  • poty seth.jpg All-Area Baseball Team and Player of the Year

    As a freshman at Northwest Whitfield High School, Seth Pierce came out of nowhere and was as dominant a pitcher as the area had. Finishing his “rookie” season with the Bruins, the left-handed Pierce led the area with nine victories — he also had one save — and showed overpowering dominance with a 9-3 record and 89 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings. He finished his first season on the hill in Tunnel Hill with a 1.71 ERA while allowing 61 hits and 23 walks. Those numbers were also recorded against competition in a higher classification as the Bruins were playing Class 4A ball when the state had just five classifications. His performance earned him honors as 2012 The Daily Citizen All-Area Baseball Player of the Year.

    May 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Carlile signing 3 mlh.jpg Carlile gets a chance to grind

    As Dylan Carlile saw more and more of his peers receiving offers from college wrestling programs, he became nervous.
    The Dalton High School grappler had nothing to worry about, because when the time came, he had his choice.

    May 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • daltongirls.JPG Dalton girls finish second in Class 4A

    In the Class 4A girls state golf tournament last year, the Dalton High School team finished third at Nob North Golf Course. Monday, playing in the state championship at Waynesboro Country Club, the Lady Catamounts finished second by just two strokes.
    “There is just one more place left to win,” Dalton coach Nancy Hallsworth said. “They have the time ahead of them to do it.”

    May 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • dhs bass signing1.jpg Nelson keeps a tight line

    Multiple high school athletes from the area sign scholarships each year for baseball, basketball, football, softball, volleyball and many other sports.
    Bass fishing scholarships? There aren’t many of those.

    May 20, 2014 1 Photo