August 30, 2013

It’s about to get real

New season starts for six area teams tonight


Model at Christian Heritage

Christian Heritage was in contention for a spot in the Georgia High School Association’s Class A private school playoffs through the final week of the 2012 regular season, and the missed opportunity has been a driving force in the offseason.

Tonight, the Lions — with only two starters gone from last year — begin their push for redemption.

“We are excited, and if you think about all of the hours in the weight room over the winter and all of the spring workouts and all of the seven-on-seven play over the summer, you better be ready,” Christian Heritage coach Preston Poag said. “If you aren’t excited now, you aren’t ready to play football.”

The excitement was a little much for the Lions in last year’s season opener at Model. Making its GHSA debut, Christian Heritage committed seven turnovers.

“We came out a little overwhelmed and just killed ourselves with mistakes,” Poag said.

Model coach Gordon Powers doesn’t expect the Lions to make the same mistakes this year.

“I hope my players are mature enough to know last year could have been a lot closer,” Powers said.

Quarterback Trevor Brown, running back Jake Stokes and wide receiver Nich Bartley are returning starters who will lead Christian Heritage’s offense versus Model’s blitz-happy defense. When Model has the ball, the Lions will likely key on junior running back Nakyle Watkins, who rushed for more than 800 yards despite not moving into a starting role until midway through last season.

“They are pretty basic on offense, but they are effective,” Poag said. “On both lines, we will have to hit them in the mouth. We saw last year that we didn’t block them real well, and the line play on both side of the ball will be key.”

Model lost eight starters from last year, and six of those were linemen.

“I think that it will be a real battle,” Powers said. “Both teams are returning a lot of players. It is one of those games that is going to be a tight ballgame all night long.”

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