2015 DeKalb Football Team Previews

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Arabia Mountain Rams
Head coach: Stanley Pritchett
(third season) – Region: 6-AAAA
2014 record: 4-6

Outlook: Arabia Mountain took a step back in 2014 after making history with its first winning record in 2013. The Rams will look to rebound with returning starters in senior wide receivers Marcus Gay and Malick Mbodj. Gay finished third in the county last season with 660 yards on 43 receptions and nine touchdown receptions. Mbodj was sixth on the top wide receivers list with 33 receptions, 521 yards and eight touchdowns.

Cedar Grove Saints
Head coach: Jermaine Smith
(third season)-Region: 4A-AAA
2014 record: 9-2 (Playoffs)

Outlook: Expectations are higher at Cedar Grove this season. After another second round playoff loss, the 2015 Saints expect nothing less of a state championship because of a highly talented senior class. The class features returning starting running back LaBron Morris, last season’s county leading rusher in yards, and four-star recruits defensive tackle Antwuan Jackson Jr. (2014 team defensive leader) and linebacker Elysee Mbem-Bosse. “We’re going to get it done,” coach Jermaine Smith said.

Chamblee Bulldogs
Head coach: Allen Johnson
(fourth season) -Region: 6-AAAA
2014 record: 1-9

Outlook: Chamblee will look to get back to its winning ways this season after the Bulldogs experienced their first losing season under coach Allen Johnson. The Bulldogs will have to depend on new offensive weapons after losing their quarterback (Brent Burgess), leading running back (Xzavier Shugars) and leading receiver (Chris Burgess). Chamblee hopes to have good production from junior quarterback Bruce Lasher, senior running back Willie Mosley and senior wide receiver Devin Wallace, who led in touchdown receptions (three).

Clarkston Angoras
Head coach: Terrence Hughey
(second season) – Region: 6A-AAAAA
2014 record: 0-10

Outlook: Coach Terrence Hughey’s first year at Clarkston was disappointing with a winless season. Clarkston has not had a winning season since 1998. The Angoras will return most of their 2014 offensive production in senior Jayson Harrell, who played quarterback and led the team in rushing with 748 yards and scored six touchdowns. He had a 7.3 yards average per attempt. Clarkston will also have its two leading receivers from last season—Dashamien Paden and Xavier Anderson.

 

Columbia Eagles
Head coach: David Edwards
(fourth season) – Region: 6-AAAA
2014 record: 7-4 (Playoffs)

Outlook: The Columbia Eagles are hoping to take another step forward after coach David Edwards led the team to its first playoff appearance since 2011. However, they will have to replace the majority of their 2014 offensive leaders. Columbia is expected to be stout on defense with most of the stat leaders from DeKalb’s third-ranked defense returning. Those players include linebackers Rasaan Johnson and Michael Hector, defensive lineman Bobby Tillman and defensive back Rickquez Cuffie.

Cross Keys Indians
Head coach: John Bowen
(first season) – Region: 6-AAAA
2014 record: 1-4

Outlook: The Indians are starting over again under new head coach John Bowen. With a low participation during summer workouts, Bowen said he will focus on establishing a roster when school begins. Cross Keys will need the returning players to provide additional leadership. Those players include Calvin Farley, who was the leading receiver for the Indians.

Decatur Bulldogs
Head coach: Scott Jackson
(third season) – Region: 4B-AAA
2014 record: 6-4

Outlook: The Bulldogs missed the playoffs again because of a losing region record at 2-3. However, coach Scott Jackson said he expects the leadership of the senior class, along with the talent, will get Decatur over the hump. Decatur will have one of its top running backs, Tray Tice, and receiver, Quintavius Eagle, on the field this year.

Druid Hills Red Devils
Head coach: Mark Adams
(third season) – Region: 6A-AAAAA
2014 record: 4-6

Outlook: Coach Mark Adams said he expects his Red Devils to be more competitive in his third seasons because of the large number of experienced players this season, specifically on defense. The Red Devils will have their leading sacker from last season in senior defensive lineman Javier Lee. Lee had 13 sacks and led the team in tackles for loss (12).

Dunwoody Wildcats
Head coach: Michael Nash
(first season) – Region: 6A-AAAAA
2014 record: 4-6

Outlook: New head coach Michael Nash will try to lead Dunwoody to its first winning record since 2011. He will have to do that with young talent after graduating a large senior class. Junior Nick Patrone will be the starting quarterback, and the Wildcats will look to get some production out of junior running back Brashaun Askew.

Lakeside Vikings
Head coach: Heath Hinton
(third season) – Region: 2-AAAAAA
2014 record: 3-7

Outlook: Lakeside will need a strong replacement for former running back Kellyen Walker, who had 1,528 total offensive yards for the Vikings last season. The team’s second leading receiver, tight end Daniel Gordon, is returning as well as the team’s sack leader, defensive end John Ashby.

Lithonia Bulldogs
Head coach: Marcus Jelks
(sixth season) – Region: 6-AAAA
2014 record: 6-5 (Playoffs)

Outlook: Last season, the Bulldogs made their first playoff appearance since 2002, and they now have their sights on a state championship. Since “defense wins championships,” The Bulldogs will rely heavily on its defense, which will be led by Jordan Smith, one of the top defensive players in the state. Lithonia will also have returning offensive starters, including quarterback Robert Hatchett.

Marist War Eagles
Head coach: Alan Chadwick
(31st season) – Region: 6-AAAA
2014 record: 11-2 (Playoffs)

Outlook: After a disappointing end in the semifinals of the state playoffs, the War Eagles will regroup and try to make another run for a state title as coach Alan Chadwick enters his 31st season. With an offense that focuses on running the ball, the War Eagles could have a triple threat with running backs Chris Bradley, Cameron Pearson and Spencer Taylor.

M.L. King Lions
Head coach: Nicolas Kashama (second season) – Region: 6A-AAAAA
2014 record: 3-7

Outlook: Coach Nicolas Kashama will try to get the Lions back to the top in DeKalb after King suffered its first losing season since the program’s inaugural season in 2002. Quarterback Jordan Douglas could be on tap to lead the offense this season, and linebackers Jonathan Mathis and Khaliq Byard—two of the Lions’ top tacklers—are back on defense this season.

McNair Mustangs
Head coach: Shelton Carleton
(third season) – Region: 4A-AAA
2014 record: 3-7

Outlook: With two seasons under his belt, coach Shelton Carleton will try to lead the Mustangs to their first winning season since 2008. The quarterback-wide receiver tandem of Joseph Mitchell and Missouri commit Christian Holmes could give McNair a spark on offense. Holmes will also be in the secondary on defense behind linebacker Brandon Duckworth and Jamie Jinks.

Miller Grove Wolverines
Head coach: Damien Wimes
(sixth season) – Region: 6A-AAAAA
2014 record: 5-5

Outlook: Miller Grove got back to .500 last season due to great offense. The Wolverines led the county in total offense, averaging 396.2 yards per game, behind returning quarterback Sedric Jefferson, who threw for nearly 1,600 yards last season. Jefferson will be throwing it to 6-foot-6 Raylon Richardson this season, a basketball player making his high school football debut.

Redan Raiders
Head coach: Roderick Moore
(second season) – Region: 6-AAAA
2014 record: 2-8

Outlook: During his first year at Redan, coach Roderick Moore said his focus was on having the team be competitive in each game. This year, it is all about winning. “My job now is to turn competing into winning. We’ve taught them how to compete—compete in practice, compete in everything that you do and now it’s time to teach them how to win,” Moore said. The Raiders will have most of their starters returning to transform the team into winners.

St. Pius Golden Lions
Head coach: Paul Standard (15th season) – Region: 6-AAAA
2014 Record: 11-2 (Playoffs)

Outlook: The Golden Lions missed their goal of winning a state title last year. However, coach Paul Standard is confident this group can get back to the title game with multiple playmakers returning, including quarterback Reed Egan, running back/defensive back Ransom Klinger and fullback/linebacker Lawson Cooper.

Southwest DeKalb Panthers
Head coach: Michael Tanks (third season) – Region: 6A-AAAAA
2014 record: 6-4

Outlook: The Panthers got back on the winning track last season after experiencing their first losing season since 1979 in 2013. Quarterback Justin Tomlin fared well as a freshman with a 48.4 percent completion rate and could have a breakout season this year. However, he will throw to new receivers after most of the starters graduated, as well those on defense.

Stephenson Jaguars
Head coach: Ron Gartrell
(20th season) – Region: 6A-AAAAA
2014 record: 8-4 (Playoffs)

Outlook: The Jaguars had to rebuild again this season after graduating another large senior class. On offense, the Jaguars will have Khalil Ladler, Eric Elder and Dezric Cook. The Jaguars will have their leading tackler, linebacker Michael Makins, returning. Defensive end Michael Pitts, who transferred from Shiloh, will add more veteran leadership to the defense.

 

Stone Mountain Pirates
Head coach: Utavius Ingram
(first season) – Region: 6-AAAA
2014 record: 0-10

Outlook: The Pirates will try to build stability this year and the coming years under new head coach Utavius Ingram, Stone Mountain’s second consecutive new coach. The Pirates will have returning starters, including quarterback D’Vonne Gibbons.

Towers Titans
Head coach: Brian Montgomery
(second season) – Region: 4A-AAA
2014 record: 2-8

Outlook: Last year’s coaching change affected the Titans in 2014 after going from a winless team (2012) to a .500 team (2013) in one season. The Titans will have a large senior class to lead the way to a possible winning season, including playmaker Torrance Marable, who rushed for 1,164 yards and scored 14 total touchdowns.

Tucker Tigers
Head coach: Bryan Lamar
(fourth season) – Region: 2-AAAAAA
2014 record: 10-3 (Playoffs)

Outlook: Although some of the top playmakers from last year’s team graduated, coach Bryan Lamar is confident that this group has what it takes to reach the teams’ goal of winning a state championship. “I think we have a great group back,” Lamar said. “The kids have been working extremely hard.” The 2015 Tigers including returning quarterback Garrett Rigby and wide receivers Akeem Peters and Joshua Vann. Peters also led the defense in interceptions last season.

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