Coach: Rodney Holder
Offensive Coordinator: Lyle Burns
Defensive Coordinator: Todd Booker
Last year: 3-7, 3-4
Key returners: Donovan Davis, SR-TE/DL, Robert Feliciano, SR-OL, Conrad Simpson, SR-OL, Jaylen Malone, JR-OL, Justin Dears, SO-QB
(Games at 7:30 p.m.)
8/30: at Washington County
9/6: vs. Swainsboro
9/13: at North Augusta (TV)
9/27: at Houston County
10/4: vs. Lakeside
10/11: vs. Northside, Warner Robins
10/18: at Evans
10/25: at Warner Robins
11/1: vs. Greenbrier (HC)
11/8: at Jones County
The Grovetown Warriors were essentially one game away from being a participant in the state playoffs a year ago and now their sights are set on taking that final step.
“The biggest thing is week-to-week you’ve got to be focused and you’ve got to win those games,” said head coach Rodney Holder. “Those two or three games we left out there that we had opportunities to win, you’ve got to win, and if you win them you’re a playoff team.”
The Warriors have a hard nonregion schedule, opening on the road at Washington County, facing Swainsboro and traveling for a televised game at North Augusta.
The Warriors have to replace quarterback Juwan Biggers, who was named the county’s top football player after a senior season in which he threw for 666 yards and nine touchdowns and ran for 878 yards and nine touchdowns.
Stepping up to helm the offense will be sophomore Justin Dears, who completed his only pass for 17 yards last year.
“Justin is a run guy but he’s a better thrower than Juwan (Biggers),” Holder said. “He’s not as gifted a runner right now, but he’s just a sophomore.”
Holder is confident in the offense because of what he has up front.
“We lost some good skill guys but we return all of our linemen,” said Holder, rattling off senior tight end Donovan Davis, senior center Robert Feliciano, senior Conrad Simpson, junior Jaylen Malone and new addition junior RJ Mitchell.
“I don’t care what level – you can be on the mitey mites – if you’ve got the best o-line and d-line you’ve got a great chance to win ball games. The skill guys they get all the pub, but at the same time it’s what’s happening up front that matters.”
Holder hired coach Damien Postell to work with the defensive backs and believes that will pay dividends.
“You’ve got to be able to stop the run but you’ve also got to be able to stop the pass,” said Holder. “I feel like our secondary is going to be a whole lot better. They’re a year older and it should be a big difference.”
Davis will be one of the defensive cogs Holder will rely on, a year after Davis recorded 12 tackles-for-loss. Davis thinks the work the team has put in will show up on the field in 2013.
“We made a push in the offseason to really work and grind and no days off this year,” said Davis. “We have much more energy, we’re much more alive. More players are out there trying to get it.”