Southeast High School Raiders

December 19, 2013

Prep football: All-Star games offer another chance for gridiron fight

— Overseeing the best senior high school football players in north Georgia has been quite a treat for North Murray coach David Gann.

Eleven standouts from Murray and Whitfield counties will become teammates — along with 39 other players from north of Atlanta — on Saturday for the D.L. Scott Coa-lition Bowl Senior All-Star Game.

The game, which kicks off at 1:30 p.m. at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, pits the North Georgia All-Stars against the Central Georgia All-Stars.

It precedes a matchup of all-stars from East Georgia and West Georgia at 7:45 p.m.

Admission is $22.50 for the entire day’s schedule, which begins at 8 a.m. and includes youth football games between teams from around Georgia and southeast Tennessee.

Gann was head coach of the North team last season as it lost 10-0 to the Central squad.

“It is a great experience and I enjoy doing it every time,” Gann said. “Not only do you have the best players in northwest Georgia but you also have the best kids. You tell them to do something one time and they do it.”

The team practiced this week at North Murray’s turf stadium in preparation for the game. North-west Whitfield has three players on the team: defensive lineman Isaiah Mack (who committed Wednesday to the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga), wide receiver/cornerback Tevin McDaniel and wide receiver/kick returner Andy Whis-enant.

Christian Heritage wide receiver Nich Bartley and fullback Austin Lowe join them, as does Dalton linebacker Lyle Durham and offensive lineman Jake Roberts.

North Murray linebacker John Chastain and defensive lineman Christian Rangel are also on the team, along with Coahulla Creek running back Darius Miller and Southeast Whitfield punter Jona-thon Sanchez.

“I went in thinking I didn’t know what would happen,” Mack said. “I didn’t know half of these kids. They’re all cool guys and like me.”

The North squad also has players from Adairsville, Calhoun, Carters-ville, Chattooga, Dade County, Dar-lington, Dawson County, Gordon Cen-tral, LaFayette, Lakeview-Fort Ogle-thorpe, Pepperell, Pickens, Ridgeland, Ringgold, River Ridge, Rome, Se-quoyah, Sonoraville, Trion and Wood-land-Bartow.

Gann said he sent an email asking for nominations to coaches of all 51 schools eligible for the North squad. From there, he and his staff narrowed around 150 nominations to a 50-man roster.

“It’s Paulding County and Cherokee County up to Catoosa County and Dade County,” Gann said. “Some years you have 10 quarterbacks and one wide receiver nominated. So you have to do the numbers game. At the same time, they want you to try and represent as many schools as much as you can.”

Mack is a two-time Region 7-4A Defensive Player of the Year and The Daily Citizen’s 2012 All-Area Football Player of the Year. McDaniel and Whisenant made the newspaper’s all-area lineup in 2012 and also were on the all-region first team, along with Durham and Roberts. Sanchez made the all-region second team.

Also on the North squad is Cartersville quarterback Brooks Barden, who led the Purple Hurricanes to the Class 3A semifinals in 2012 — they lost in the second round this season — and Ringgold linebacker Dakota Baer, the 2013 All-Region 5-3A Defensive Player of the Year, who helped the Tigers make an unprecedented run to the state semifinals this season.

That is a sample of the talent Gann and the North squad coaches have had the privilege of seeing.

“It’s a joy when you can coach kids who understand everything they are trying to do,” Gann said. “All their fundamentals and techniques are good, and they all have a good football sense and knowledge.”

Joining Gann on the coaching staff from North Murray are Courtney Braswell, Bob Dixon, Tino Hernandez, Chad Murray, Don Murray, Alex Otting, Ryan Otting, Jason Poteet and Cody Rainey. The other coaches are from Cartersville, Dade County, LFO, Pickens, Ringgold and Sonoraville.

Last season, the Central team had current University of Georgia safety Tray Matthews. Gann expects the team to have athletes of a similar caliber.

“The team we’re playing against has some very good football players,” Gann said.

This won’t the only all-star game this month for Mack, who also will take part in the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association’s North-South All-Star Football Classic at 2 p.m. Dec. 30 at Memorial Stadium in Columbus.

Cartersville coach Frank Barden will coach Mack and the North squad. Helping as an assistant is Dalton head coach Matt Land, who will coach linebackers for the North squad.

This will be Land’s first experience coaching in an all-star game.

“I think one of the neat things is to coach some different kids who have been coached in different ways,” he said. “Maybe you can learn some things from them.”

Mack is the only local player — as of now — in that game, Barden said.

Having some high school teammates like McDaniel and Whisenant — and local rivals like Durham and Roberts — made the experience of preparing for Saturday’s all-star game a little easier at the start.

“As the practices went by, we found out their problems are our problems,” Mack said. “We’re the exact same people.”

1
Text Only
Southeast High School Raiders
  • 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

  • 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

  • State soccer: Raiders come up a goal short

    GAINESVILLE — Southeast Whitfield High School’s boys soccer team needed at least one break to go its way against Johnson-Gainesville in Tuesday’s Class 4A state semifinals.
    Even when the Raiders believed they had earned a break, they didn’t receive the credit.

    May 14, 2014

  • Lumpkin at SE soccer 1 mlh.jpg Prep boys soccer: Different routes for Dalton, SE

    The boys soccer teams at Dalton and Southeast Whitfield high schools are eyeing a return to the Class 4A state title game.
    But while they share a common ambition, the routes the Catamounts and Raiders must take to reach the championship on May 17 at Kennesaw State University are taking a different turn tonight.

    May 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • SE signing 1 CW.jpg Prep volleyball: SE libero Paloblanco to Temple

    In volleyball, the libero position is limited to playing on the back row and specializes in defensive contributions.
    Southeast Whitfield High School senior Yasmeen Paloblanco wasn’t limited in what she meant to the Lady Raiders, though, and her ability to excel as a libero is helping her remain on the court as she heads to college.

    May 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • harper signing1.jpg Challenges met

    Since he was very young, Southeast Whitfield High School senior Rhett Harper has often had a ball in his hand, with another game to play or a practice somewhere on his calendar.

    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