Posted: Thursday, August 21st 2008 at 12:17pm
Football: Dragons hope to show ’07 was anomaly
By Jeff Hart
JASPER -- A young team and injuries contributed to a 2-8 overall record and 0-4 record in Region 7A-AAA last season for Pickens -- which was the Dragons’ worst season since 2001.
Coach Steve Sewell is hoping his team, which features six returning starters on both offense and defense, can get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2005.
“We have a lot of unknowns but we feel like we have some guys that can step up this year and make a difference,” Sewell said. “We have 15 seniors, which is a good nucleus to work with and they all got a lot of playing time last year. But we will have to play as a team because this is the smallest bunch I’ve had since I came back (six years ago).”
• OFFENSE: The Dragons will primarily run out of the I-formation.
Senior Alex Willingham is expected to be the opening-game starter at quarterback, with 2007 starter and senior Jesse Cantrell splitting time between QB and wide receiver.
Seniors Desmond Howell and Brett Larson will lead the running backs, while a solid group of seniors in Nick Jones, Casey Reynolds, and Chandler White all return up front to give Pickens and experienced group on the line.
Senior Raymond Bennett will join Cantrell as another main receiving threat.
• DEFENSE: The Dragons will employ both a 3-5 and 4-4 defensive formation, with Howell, Reynolds, Brandon Akinson, and Chris Brown anchoring the line.
• SPECIAL TEAMS: Sewell said the special teams are “a work in progress.”
Bennett returns to handle the punting duties, but Sewell said they have found a placekicker, a spot that hurt them all year last season.
• SCHEDULE: The Dragons are the only team in 7A-AAA to avoid both Gainesville and Flowery Branch on their schedule, which means sub-region wins could play a huge role in their quest for a top spot in the sub-region.
Pickens also faces Chestatee (Sept. 26), Lumpkin County (Oct. 10) and White County (Oct. 31) at home but does have to travel to North Hall (Oct. 17).
Some early wins could help the Dragons build confidence before sub-region play.
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