Sports

August 30, 2013

It’s about to get real

New season starts for six area teams tonight

Last year, North Murray High School’s football team started the best season in the program’s short history with a 37-14 victory against Southeast Whitfield, and it was an experienced Mountaineers squad that topped the Raiders.

When they face off in another season opener tonight at Raider Stadium, the scales of experience will be tipped toward the other sideline.

North Murray finished 5-5 and missed the state playoffs after going 4-1 to open its 2012 schedule. Tonight marks the start of the Mountaineers’ fourth year of varsity football and another shot a winning season, which is something the Mountaineers — who went 1-19 from 2010 to 2011 — have never had.

The Raiders have plenty of motivation, too. They’re on a quest for their first winning season since 1986.

“If we beat North Murray, it would definitely change the whole philosophy about everything here and the whole mindset,” said Southeast senior Abram Stanley, a wide receiver and inside linebacker.

In other high school football games involving area teams, Model is at Christian Heritage, Murray County is at Coahulla Creek and Pepperell is at Northwest Whitfield. All kickoffs are at 7:30 p.m.

North Murray had 23 seniors on its roster last year, and a number that stands at 10 this season. The Raiders’ senior class of 17 includes four-year starters Blake Foster and Rhett Harper. Foster is a running back, slot receiver and cornerback. Harper is a slot receiver, cornerback and one of two quarterbacks expected to receive playing time this season, along with sophomore Will Swantic.

Harper returned a kickoff for a touchdown against North Murray last season, while Foster had an 11-yard touchdown run while playing quarterback.

“Those two are as good as anywhere around and it seems like they’ve been playing there for about 10 years now,” North Murray coach David Gann said. “Those kids can hurt you every time they touch the ball.”

One problem the Raiders faced last year was defending the Mountaineers’ triple-option offense. North Murray’s all-senior backfield of quarterback Brady Swilling, running back Jacob Mays and fullback Christian Bukle combined for more than 400 yards on the ground that night.

Both teams were debuting new head coaches in last year’s opener. Southeast coach Sean Gray led the Raiders to a 2-8 mark but felt his team was playing much better by the end of 2012.

“We feel a lot better prepared this year than we were last year,” Gray said. “Also, I don’t think we had any idea how good Swilling and Mays were. ... Right at the end of their scrimmage game last year against Model, Swilling had an 80-yard touchdown run. I looked to my coaches and said, ‘That scares me right there.’ Because he looked like he was flying. Well, he was flying.”

Southeast must deal with another dual threat at quarterback, junior Hinton McConkey. Gray also mentioned senior fullback John Chastain, junior wide receiver Peyton Swilling and sophomore running back Drake McCowan as players the Raiders must beware of tonight.

Gann and the Mountaineers defense will need to plan for two looks from the Raiders. In the spread, Swantic will play quarterback and Harper will line up at receiver; in the I formation, Harper will play quarterback and Foster will be at running back.

“It makes it tough,” Gann said, “trying to prepare for two different styles of offense, not knowing what they’ll do and when they will do it.”

Text Only
Sports
  • Eder Mora.jpg Dalton's Eder Mora will not play football

    Dalton High School football coach Matt Land confirmed Friday morning that star linebacker Eder Mora will not play football this fall.
    “Eder, obviously, is not here,” Land said after the opening of the first day of conditioning for area high school teams. “He has an opportunity to do something really special in soccer.”

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7on7 day 1 '14 23 mlh.jpg Conditioning for success

    Local high school football teams have had voluntary workouts, seven-on-seven drills and other practices and camps throughout the summer.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Summer of Satterfield: Rising star goes low for latest victory

    Chatsworth’s Savannah Satterfield is proving her mettle on the golf course this summer, and her latest tournament outing resulted in another title and a record round.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roadrunners’ Mitchell receives high academic honor

    Chatsworth’s Tyler Mitchell hopes to make his living playing professional golf. But if his dreams of courtesy cars and big checks on the PGA Tour don’t come through, he knows he can rely upon his education.

    July 25, 2014

  • Larry Case: Camping a sure cure for the big city blues

    In case you haven’t noticed, we are looking right down the gun barrel at winding down on another summer.

    July 25, 2014

  • Chris Whitfield's Fairways & Greens: Nob North prepares for 'big date'

    Like anyone getting ready for a big date, golf courses get dressed up when it is time for a major event. But while a woman may put on a little makeup and a man may add a spray of cologne, Nob North Golf Course in Varnell is getting something more akin to Botox.

    July 24, 2014

  • DSCgolf-col.jpg Dalton State notebook: Women's golf looking forward to tee time

    After a “redshirt” year for the entire program in 2013-14, Dalton State College’s women’s golf team is looking forward to its inaugural campaign.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Todd roasted 1 mlh.jpg One last 'Goodbye' for coach Todd

    Charles Todd talks to parents and coaches before his going-away party Tuesday in the Dalton High School commons area.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fishing Lures3cw.jpg Turner lured into love of learning fishing business

    Fishing and tall tales go hand in hand, and after nearly three decades in a business supplying local anglers, Phil Turner has heard just about all of them.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • U.S. Amateur dreams over for local golfers

    Dalton golfers Chase Miller and Will Morrow traveled to Cincinnati on Tuesday in an attempt to earn a spot in the U.S. Amateur Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club, but neither earned one of the three qualifying spots at the 6,588-yard, par-70 course at Camargo Club.

    July 23, 2014

Devin Golden's sports updates
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites