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Davis era set to begin at Shiloh

The day before his team was set to begin fall practice, Shiloh's new football coach went to the press box at Shiloh Community Stadium and looked over Charlie Jordan Field as the announcer did a sound check.

"I kind of got chills down my spine," Shiloh first-year coach Nick Davis said.

The feeling of excitement is something Davis hopes to experience a lot more this season as Shiloh's new General.

Davis is Shiloh's fourth head coach since Jordan retired after the 1998 season and is one of three new Gwinnett County head coaches that will be roaming the sidelines this fall.

North Gwinnett's Bob Sphire takes over the Bulldogs' program and Franklin Pridgen is the new head coach at Wesleyan. Both coaches are the third coach in as many years at their schools.

The transition has been smooth for Davis, formerly Riverdale's head coach, since he was hired in early March.

"It really has been. A lot of people have been receptive," Davis said. "I've had a great support staff from the booster club, our new principal Dr. Tatum, our new athletic director Don Einolf and his secretary Katherine Watkins, they've been real supportive and have helped me understand how things are done in Gwinnett. A lot of people have been helpful to make this a smooth transition."

Davis, who inherits a team that had back-to-back 2-8 seasons, was able to have spring practice with his players earlier this year. During spring, Davis installed his base offense of the flex bone, an option offense which is a variation of the offense that was run at Georgia Southern when he player there in the early 1990s, as well as an attacking 4-3 defense.

Shiloh's new coaching staff features a couple of Davis' assistants from Riverdale along with two coaches that were on Shiloh's staff last year and some assistants from other schools.

Kevin Spurgeon comes to Shiloh from Hiram and will be the Generals' new offensive coordinator, while Don Hudson, who coached at Shiloh last year, will be the defensive coordinator.

"The kids are buying into what we are doing, they are buying into the program and working hard," Davis said.

"The kids and coaches are beginning to believe in one another and are bonding, so we are excited about the opportunity we have this year. I've been tickled to death with our participation this

summer."

Davis estimates about 80 players regularly attended voluntary workouts this summer and 120 players are on the preseason roster.

"The biggest thing is changing attitudes, getting kids to understand that we should be competing in this region," said Davis, who has been to the playoffs four times in his six years as a head coach.

"We have the talent to compete in this region and believing that we can compete and win in this region. I think that's the biggest thing we've got to take care of first."

The Generals haven't even began to prepare for their season opener against Peachtree Ridge, but Davis has already started to change the perspectives of his players and has begun to get them to believe.

"Ever since he walked through door, he's told us how it's going to be," senior running back Eliot Anderson said. "He's turned things around. He's got us believing and working hard. He's kind of brought us together and made us more of a team than we were last year."