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Apalachee Wildcats 2011 Football Preview

Apalachee Wildcats 2011 Football Preview

— Mascot: Wildcats Coach: Shane Davis (38-29 at Apalachee, 38-29 overall) Region: 8-AAAA Last playoff appearance: 2009

Offense

Despite losing 1,000-yard rusher Alex Camp to graduation, the Wildcats' ground game "1 one of the most prolific in the area at 318.1 yards per game "1 should have plenty of firepower with the return of running backs Stanley Williams (964 yards, 9 TDs) and Zay Henry (839 yards, 10 TDs), as well as quarterback Clint Ashe also back to direct traffic.

2011 Schedule

Aug. 26 at Habersham Central

Sept. 9 Flowery Branch

Sept. 16 at Salem

Sept. 23 at Heritage

Sept. 30 Madison County

Oct. 7 at Rockdale County

Oct. 14 Clarke Central

Oct. 21 Cedar Shoals

Oct. 28 at Winder-Barrow

Nov. 4 Loganville

2010 Results (6-4)

Habersham Central W 35-7

at Flowery Branch L 52-35

Salem W 24-7

Heritage W 28-14

at Madison Co. W 63-20

Rockdale County W 31-14

at Clarke Central L 42-21

at Cedar Shoals L 28-21

Winder-Barrow W 28-14

at Loganville L 35-10

Leading receiver Jermaine Smith (19-276, 2 TDs) is also back.

However, the big question will be the make-up of the line bearing the task of creating room for the speedy skill players to operate.

In addition to losing four starters from last year to graduation, senior Cole Shook has moved to the defensive line, while Chris Guthrie shifts from left guard into Shook's old spot at center to bring some stability and leadership to the new-look front.

"The offensive line is the key for us," Apalachee coach Shane Davis said. "We've still got a long way to go to get to where we need to be."

Defense

The Wildcats' defense was far from porous last season, giving up 23.3 points per game.

But that figure represents a jump of eight points per game from the previous season's Class AAAA state quarterfinal team, which Davis hopes will tighten back up this year.

He'll look to the front seven to lead the way, where several key players will be back with a valuable year's experience and maturity.

In addition to returning last year's leading tackler in linebacker F.J. Smith (73 combined tackles and assists), senior Rakim Peters (43 tackles, four sacks) and junior Johnny Thompson (36 tackles, four sacks) are also back to bolster the line.

"The front seven has to be (the biggest strength) because we've moved some personnel around (in the secondary)," Davis said. "But secondary-wise, we've got some kids back, too. ... We've moved people around, and there are several people that got some playing time last year."

Futbol to football

Throughout Davis' tenure at Apalachee, he has utilized a valuable, and perhaps underrated, resource, successfully mining the school's soccer program to handle placekicking and punting duties.

For the past four years in particular, it's been a huge success, with Jonathan Livesay (9-for-12 on field goals and 40-for-48 on PATs over two seasons) and Guy Hunt (9-for-14 FG, 76-for-79 PAT over two seasons) becoming real weapons.

"We've been spoiled the last four years," Davis said. "We've been really fortunate, first, to get Livesay form the soccer team, and then having him talk Hunt to come out. And we go to the (soccer) coaches and ask them if they have anybody who might be able to help us.

"Before those guys came out, they'd never kicked a football "1 only a soccer ball. A lot of work goes into getting them used to it."

Davis is hoping to reach into the Wildcats' soccer team once again for a kicker "1 this time, with Christian Vasquez teeing it up.

Finishing strong

After making the Class AAAA state playoffs the previous three seasons, it's easy to view last year's 6-4 campaign as a rebuilding year, especially following the graduation of so many members of one of the top senior classes in program history.

But Davis prefers to view last year as more of a bridge year to set the stage for a new crop of talent that is still quite young, but remained competitive in a powerful Region 8-AAAA that included strong opponents like Clarke Central, Flowery Branch and Loganville.

And if the Wildcats are going to return to the postseason this year, Davis knows the area in which this new wave of talent will have to make the biggest strides from last year.

"At one point last year, we were 5-1," Davis said. "We just didn't finish well. How, hat's off to a couple (opponents), but ... we usually pride ourselves in finishing strong. Last year was the first year we didn't do that."

-David Friedlander

Apalachee roster

PROBABLE STARTERS

Offense

QB Clint Ashe (5-10, 170, Jr.)

RB Stanley Williams (5-8, 180, Soph.)

RB Zay Henry (6-0, 170, Jr.)

RB Eric Tanner (5-10, 185, Jr.)

WR Jermaine Smith (5-10, 170, Jr.)

TE Josh Doman (5-10, 200, Jr.)

OL Chris Guthrie (6-0, 240, Sr.)

OL Terrance Cook (6-0, 200, Sr.)

OL Tyler Cash (6-1, 250, Sr.)

RG Sacorus Riley (6-0, 295, Sr.)

RT Joseph Goss (6-2, 300, Jr.)

K Christian Vasquez (5-9, 175, Jr.)

Defense

DE Rakim Peters (6-3, 230, Jr.)

DT Josh Holten (6-1, 210, Soph.)

DT Cole Shook (6-0, 235, Sr.)

DE Johnny Thompson (6-3, 210, Jr.)

LB F.J. Smith (5-9, 185, Sr.)

LB Chris Morris (6-3, 210, Jr.)

LB Austin Goley (5-10, 170, Sr.)

DB Von Heard (6-0, 170, Jr.)

DB Corey Hunt (5-10, 170, Jr.)

DB Jeremy Lotts (6-0, 185, Sr.)

DB Jermaine Smith (5-10, 170, Jr.)

P Christian Vasquez (5-9, 175, Jr.)

1 Austin Goley LB 12

2 Jeremy Lotts DB 12

3 Josh Doman TE 11

4 Rakim Peters DE 11

5 Clint Ashe QB 11

6 Josh Holten DT 10

7 Johnny Thompson DE 11

8 F.J. Smith LB 12

9 Chris Morris LB 11

10 Jody Mathis DB/RB 10

11 Jermaine Smith WR/DB 11

12 Mark Sanford RB/DB 11

13 Stanley Williams RB 11

14 Ty Shropshire QB/DE 10

16 David Haymon WR/DB 10

17 Christian Vasquez K 11

18 Ryan Daniel WR/DB 11

19 Shai Scott-Shorty RB/DB 12

20 Von Heard DB 11

21 Zay Henry RB 11

23 Andwon Tyson DB/RB 12

25 Devonte Vinson RB/DB 10

26 James Landing DL/RB 12

28 Jordan Bridges LB/FB 11

30 Eric Tanner RB 11

32 Robert James WR/DB 10

33 Kevin Sewell WR/DB 10

34 Justin Skinner WR/DB 10

35 Brenden Brown LB/FB 10

38 Ishak Yusuf RB/LB 11

39 Titus Garcia WR/DB 10

40 Eric Morgan WR/DB 11

42 Simeon Patton RB/DB 12

43 Corey Hunt DB/RB 11

47 Clay Harvey OL/DL 12

48 Ismail Granados K 12

49 Nick Zvirbulis WR/DB 10

50 Jordan Bracken OL/DL 10

52 Terrance Cook OL/DL 12

53 Jonathan Bagwell OL/DL 10

54 Chris Guthrie OL 12

55 Tyler Cash OL 10

56 Evan Mathews OL/DL 10

57 Cole Shook DL 12

58 Marcus Riley OL/DL 11

59 Sacorus Riley OL 12

60 Jerald Williams OL/DL 10

61 Ryan Bedwell OL/DL 12

62 Jonathan Taylor OL/DL 10

63 Austin Miller OL/DL 11

64 Chris Chapman OL/DL 11

65 Colby Moore OL/DL 12

66 Dylon Pearson OL/DL 10

69 Clay Morgan OL/DL 11

70 David Green OL/DL 11

72 William Blount OL/DL 12

73 Joseph Goss OL/DL 11

74 Dillan Maddox OL/DL 10

75 Thomas Doman OL/DL 11

76 Jonathan Dye OL/DL 11

77 Tyler Fragapane OL/DL 9

78 Justin Stevens TE/DL 10

79 Roosevelt Crum OL/DL 10

80 Jerry Phanor WR/DB 11

83 Peyton Sanders K 11

90 Troy Bedwell OL/DL 10