Columbia County's public high school football teams kick off the 2002 campaign this Friday night, and with the Augusta Christian Schools season already underway, local prep fans can finally begin the football feeding frenzy.
This is a tough season to gauge - Columbia County has two new head coaches, four new starting quarterbacks, and a lot of unanswered questions.
Harlem's Tim Camp may be called on to play severay different positions this year. He can paly both quarterback and receiver.
Photo by Mike Howell
It will be fun to see the newcomers step up, and I can't wait to find out which team will win county bragging rights.
Here's a team-by-team preview of what to look for this fall, along with my annual pre-season All-County Team.
Evans Knights: Region 7-AAAAA; head coach - Lee Chomskis; defensive coordinator - Rodney Garvin; offensive coordinator - Dave Machovec; offense - multiple sets; defense - shade 50.
Offense: quarterback - Brad Freeman; fullback - Chris Cozart; tailback - Abdul Walters; wide receiver - Steve Rogers; split end - Tanis Maynor; tight end - C.J. Wiltz and Stephen Stegall; center - Jake Stone; guards - Brad Thornton and Chase Lord; tackles - Jacob Filiatreau and Robin Jacobs; kicker - Justin Martin, B.J. Ralph and Reid Tankersley; Punter - Brad Sickles; returns - Steven Rogers and Tanis Maynor.
Defense: nose guard - Chris Powell; tackles - C.J. Wiltz and Robin Jacobs; ends - Stephen Stegall and Brian Lewis; linebackers - Chad Muns and Chris Cozart; cornerbacks - John Harris and Osmond Brinson; free safety - Tanis Maynor.
Opening game: Friday at Greenbrier.
Preview: Evans goes from one tough region to another, but if quarterback Travis Clark can get healthy, he and receiver Steven Rogers will do some damage. Also keep an eye on Tanis Maynor, an extremely talented two-way starter. Still, a state playoff appearance is unlikely.
Greenbrier Wolfpack: Region 3-AAAA; head coach - Mickey Derrick; offensive coordinator - Ed Williams; defensive coordinator Charlie - Fales; offense - shotgun and I-formation; defense - multiple sets.
Offense: quarterback - Brooks Robinson; fullbacks - Tyler Dent and Daniel Landon; tailback - Orlando Pollard; wide receiver - Michael Newman; tight end - Daniel Jordan; center - Eric Wagner; guards - Scott Henchel and Rashad Dunn; tackles - Kyle Lawton and Curtis Henchel; kicker - Ben Tankersley.
Defense: tackles - Donald Eslick and Daniel Landon; end - Brent Edwards; nose guard - Bill King; linebackers - Daniel Jordan, Cam Griffin and David Barrett; cornerbacks - Paul Maness and Jimmy Viebrock; strong safety - Dustin Shirey; free safety - Eugene Rogers; punter - Daniel Jordan; returns - undecided.
Opening game: Friday vs. Evans at the Brierpatch.
Preview: Keep an eye on junior quarterback Brooks Robinson, who threw six touchdown passes, and completed 10 of 15 passes, in a recent scrimmage against Richmond Academy. The Pack has to replace several starters lost to graduation, but the squad could surprise some people, although a good start is the key - the final four regular season games will be tough.
Harlem Bulldogs: Region 3-AAA; head coach and offensive coordinator - Jimmie Lewis; defensive coordinator - Lonnie Morris; offense - triple option/spread; defense - 4-3.
Offense: quarterback - Michael Hawkinberry, Tim Camp or Jon Rickerson; fullback - Larry Crawford; A-backs - Kelvin Sturgis and Tae Dorsey; wide receivers - Donny Demore and Tim Camp; tight end - undecided; center - Jordan Whitaker; guards - Foster Moore and Derrick Jones; tackles - Alex Lazenby and Robert Jones; kicker - Alan Griffin; returns - Kelvin Sturgis and Tim Camp.
Defense: tackles - Jason Ellis and Davis Dye; ends - Mike Peterite and Alex Lazenby; linebackers - Larry Crawford, Kelvin Sturgis and Josh Wilmoth; cornerbacks - Jon Rickerson and Tae Dorsey; strong safety - Tim Camp; free safety - Donny Demore; punter - Matt Dobbs.
First game: Friday at Aquinas.
Preview: The Bulldogs must replace one of the best players in school history in quarterback Domonique Brown, plus four starting linemen who also graduated, but the cupboard isn't bare. Kelvin Sturgis and Josh Wilmoth are two of the best players in the CSRA at their positions. Also, Harlem is loaded at running back, and has a lot of team speed.
Lakeside Panthers: Region 3-AAAA; head coach - Randy Hill; offensive coordinator - Drew Shelton; defensive coordinator - Bruce Gaddy; offense - multiple sets; defense - 4-4.
Offense: quarterback - Richard Flake; fullbacks - C.J. Middleton and Philip Choat; tailbacks - Billy Carroll and Tosin Fawibe; wide receiver - Philip Sadler; split end - Johnny Los; tight ends - Alex Bragg and Galen Jones; center - Charles O'Byrne; guards - Cal Reynolds and David Szerlip; tackles - Tanner Richards and Raul Singh; kicker - Kyle Key; returns - Philip Sadler, Johnny Los and Billy Carroll.
Defense: tackles - Charles O'Byrne, Tanner Richards and Cal Reynolds; ends - Greg Goad, Alex Bragg and Brian Gardner; linebackers - Dustin Revell, Corey Baxter, Galen Jones and Sam Jasinski; cornerbacks - J.P. Dixon and B.B. Brandenburg; safeties - Johnny Los and Jonathan Kerris; punter - Tyler James.
First game: Friday vs. Westside at Panther Stadium
Preview: The Panthers lost just about every starter from last year's team, and that means there will be some rebuilding to do this season. There are some exciting newcomers, in quarterback Richard Flake, receiver Johnny Los and running back Billy Carroll. Also, Lakeside will have a huge offensive line, which should help establish a consistent ground game.
Augusta Christian: Region 1-AAA, Georgia Independent Schools Association; head coach and offensive coordinator - Bruce Lane; defensive coordinator - Craig Johnson; offense - multiple sets; defense - five-man front.
Offense: quarterback - Adam McKinney; fullback - Jordan Haywood; tailback - Cole Rabun; flanker - Robert Banks; split end - Ryan Bates; tight end - Matt Lane; center - Josh Adams; guards - Sam Pitts and Brock Ballis; tackles - Daniel Whinghter and Lance Tucker; kicker - David Nelson; returns - Ryan Bates and Cole Rabun.
Defense: tackles - Sam Pitts and Lance Tucker; ends - Scott Brantley and Drew Snelling; nose guard - Chad Cooper; linebackers - Trey Pitts and Marcus Haskell; cornerbacks - Ryan Bates and Dan Wiley; strong safety - Dwight Banks; free safety - Andrew Fisher; punter - Adam McKinney.
Next game: Friday at Tattnall Square Academy.
Preview: Like Harlem, AC must replace one of its best-ever performers in tailback Joel Whinghter, and Cole Rabun is talented enough to give it a try. Coach Lane expects big things, and has raved about the team's work ethic and attitude.
2002 Pre-season All-Columbia County Team
Offense: quarterback - Travis Clark (Evans) and Brooks Robinson (Greenbrier); fullback - Larry Crawford (Harlem); tailbacks - Kelvin Sturgis (Harlem) and Cole Rabun (Augusta Christian); wide receiver - Steven Rogers (Evans); split end - Tanis Maynor (Evans); center - Charles O'Byrne (Lakeside); guards - Scott Henchel (Greenbrier) and Chase Lord (Evans); tackles - Jacob Filiatreau (Evans) and Curtis Henchel (Greenbrier); tight end - Galen Jones (Lakeside); all-around athlete - Tim Camp (Harlem); kicker - Ben Tankersley (Greenbrier).
Defense: tackles - Tanner Richards (Lakeside) and Sam Pitts (Augusta Christian); ends - Brent Edwards (Greenbrier) and Daniel Jordan (Greenbrier); linebackers - Philip Choat (Lakeside), Josh Wilmoth (Harlem) and Kelvin Sturgis (Harlem); cornerbacks - Tae Dorsey (Harlem) and Ryan Bates (Augusta Christian); strong safety - Tim Camp (Harlem); free safety - Tanis Maynor; punter - Adam McKinney (Augusta Christian).
Top Offensive Player: Steven Rogers (Evans, senior). Rogers is attending his third different high school in fours years, but it doesn't matter where he plays, because he's going to do the job. He hauled in more than 60 passes at Lakeside last season, and his leaping ability and quickness make him a threat every time the ball comes his way. Rogers will play Division I college ball, and he's going to have a ball at Evans once quarterback Travis Clark returns from an injury.
Top Defensive Player: Josh Wilmoth (Harlem, senior). Wilmoth is going to spark and athletic Dogs' defense. If the linemen can ties up the opponents, Wilmoth could record 150 tackles this season. Like Rogers, Wilmoth is a legitimate college prospect.
Player of the Year: Kelvin Sturgis (Harlem, senior). Sturgis can do it all, and could play anywhere coach Jimmie Lewis puts him. His real impact, however, will be on offense. With teammates Tae Dorsey, Larry Crawford and Tim Camp, Harlem has a dynamite running corps, and look for Sturgis to light the fuse. There definitely will be some Division I scouts at the Dog Pound this fall.
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