Sports

May 17, 2013

Spring football: Teams looking for answers

Dalton High School football coach Matt Land expects Jase Chastain, Zek Cobb and Payton Veraldi to be on the field plenty next season.

How much time each sees behind center versus at other positions is the question they’ll answer for him with how they perform over the summer and in preseason workouts.

And even when the Catamounts kick off next season, it’s a quiz the trio — Chastain will be a sophomore, Cobb will be a freshman and Veraldi will be a junior — might be taking from week to week. But Land also indicated he’s not opposed to using more than one during a game by design.

“They each have a different skill set. If this was just ‘Who’s the best quarterback?’ that might be an easy question,” said Land, whose team went 8-4 and reached the second round of the Class 4A state playoffs in 2012. “I think the real question is ‘Who makes us a better football team?’ and we’re not going to know that probably until the fall.”

The Cats closed their workouts with their annual spring game Thursday evening at Harmon Field, and now coaches will begin reviewing video to see what they’ve learned. Dalton returns three starters on offense and five on defense, so there should be plenty of competition for starting positions. It’s a contest that has already started, with Land eyeing spring practice as a time best spent determining who’s ready for a No. 1 varsity spot since there’s no opponent to prepare for anyway.

“We’ve got to find the right 11 on offense and the right 11 on defense,” he said. “... I think coming out of this we got some answers, but at the same time you get as many questions created.”

As for who Land already expects to build around, on defense the list includes lineman Jordan Keener, inside linebackers Lyle Durham and Jay Rockholt, and defensive back Nathan Bryant. On offense, lineman Jake Roberts and tailback Kelvis Rhodes are proven assets.

While replacing experienced players lost to graduation is a typical exercise for football coaches during spring practice, there was plenty about Dalton’s spring that wasn’t typical.

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