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Greater Atlanta Christian Spartans 2011 Football Preview

Greater Atlanta Christian Spartans 2011 Football Preview

Mascot: Spartans. Coach: Tim Cokely (9-3 at GAC, 155-49 overall) Region: 6-AA Last playoff appearance: 2010

Offense

The GAC offense was one of the county's more productive units last season, and much of that production was done by committee.

Even better news for the Spartans is that many of those individual members of that committee are back this season, including multi-talented co-starting quarterbacks Jared Chapple and David McTier (pictured), who will share snaps again this season after combining for 1,198 yards and 10 TDs a year ago.

"When you look at them, Chapple looks like the better thrower and McTier looks like the better runner," GAC coach Tim Cokely said. "But I think both guys can do both very well. They're both good leaders, not just on the (field), but also in the locker room and in school."

In addition, leading rushers Lavondre Nelson, Kyle Scales and DaSean Daniels, who combined for 1,425 yards and 27 TDs on the ground last year, plus receivers Calvin Mapp and Clay Metzger are also back.

Add in an experienced line led by Georgia Tech commit Chase Roberts, and the Spartans appear poised to put up a lot of points once again this year.

Defense

Like the offense, the Spartans' defense will feature many familiar faces in the form of seven returning starters.

However, with a switch to more multiple sets, some of those familiar faces will be seen in different places.

While Parker Fair and Daniels are back at their usual spots at defensive end and inside linebacker respectively, and Nelson and Kalif Raymond return to man the corners, a few others are changing positions.

The most notable of these shifts involves last year's leading tackler, senior Jarrod Rickman, who moves from linebacker to strong safety,

"It's more by necessity," Cokely said of the position switches. "(GAC's defensive coaches) are more 50 (alignment) guys, but with all these new spread offenses, we kind of have to get in more multiple sets. So, we had to shift some people around."

2011 Schedule

Aug. 26 at Columbia

Sept. 2 at Druid Hills

Sept. 9 Holy Innocents'

Sept. 17 Westminster^

Sept. 23 Blessed Trinity

Oct. 7 Decatur

Oct. 14 Clarkston

Oct. 21 at Buford

Oct. 28 Hapeville Charter

Nov. 4 Region play-in

2010 Results (9-3)

Columbia W 42-7

Druid Hills W 48-7

at Holy Innocents' W 49-10

Westminster L 24-13

at Blessed Trinity W 31-17

at Decatur W 28-18

at Clarkston W 42-7

Buford L 38-7

Avondale W 38-8

Blessed Trinity W 24-19

at Fannin County W 49-14

at Carver-Col. L 21-7

^at Georgia Dome

Well-seasoned

Having guided GAC back to postseason in his first season as head coach after its 14-year playoff run was interrupted, Cokely is taking a slightly different approach this season.

With a total of 16 returning starters and several other experienced players back, Cokely is going to entrust more leadership to those well-seasoned players during his second season with the Spartans this fall.

"The whole team is experienced," Cokely said. "During any transition, a coach can challenge the team to get better. But in the second year, the players have to be the ones to challenge themselves to be better."

Big stage

GAC has not played in the Georgia Dome since a 21-19 win over Early County in the 2002 Class AA state semifinals, en route to a state runner-up finish that season.

But the Spartans will be back under the Teflon-coated roof in downtown Atlanta when they take on Westminster for a Region 6-AA subregion crossover game as part of the Great American Football Classic on Sept. 17.

And while the game against the tough Wildcats figures to be a good early-season test for the Spartans, Cokely says he wants to kids to focus more on how special it will be to play at the home of the Atlanta Falcons and the Georgia State Panthers.

"It's fun for these guys, and we've got to keep it fun," Cokely said. "Even though Westminster is a big rivalry and a region opponent (from the opposite subregion), our guys have worked hard to get to this going. And it's the fourth game of the season, so the angle we're taking for this game is more of having fun."

-David Friedlander

PROBABLE STARTERS

Offense

QB Jared Chapple (6-4, 235, Sr.)

or David McTier (5-10, 185, Jr.)

RB Lavondre Nelson (5-8, 170, Sr.)

RB Kyle Scales (5-10, 185, Jr.)

WR Clay Metzger (6-1, 190, Jr.)

WR Kalif Raymond (5-8, 160, Sr.)

WR Calvin Mapp (5-8, 165, Jr.)

LT Chase Roberts (6-4, 285, Sr.)

LG Scotty Andrews (6-2, 193, Sr.)

C Tate Cooksey (5-11, 205, Sr.)

RG Grant Bell (6-1, 218, Sr.)

RT Scott Crawford (6-2, 255, Sr.)

K Connor Cox (6-1, 175, Sr.)

Defense

DE Parker Fair (6-1, 220, Sr.)

NG Trent Jenkins (6-5, 310, Soph.)

DE Andrew Bartolomei (6-5, 265, Jr.)

OLB George Thomas (6-0, 215, Sr.)

ILB DaSean Daniels (6-0, 215, Sr.)

SLB Jonathan Ford (6-3, 220, Sr.)

OLB Kris Smith (6-2, 200, Jr.)

CB Kalif Raymond (5-8, 160, Sr.)

CB Lavondre Nelson (5-8, 170, Sr.)

SS Jarrod Rickman (5-11, 185, Sr.)

FS Kyle Scales (5-10, 185, Jr.)

P Ross Wood (6-1, 170, Sr.)

GAC roster

2 Delano Spencer QB/DB 11

3 Peter Whiteneck WR/DB 11

4 Jeremy McGriff WR/DB 12

5 Connor Cox K 12

6 Calvin Mapp WR/DB 11

7 Kalif Raymond WR/DB 12

8 Chris Williams WR/LB 10

9 Tyler Rickman FB/DB 12

10 Joey Schrader RB/DB 10

11 Parker Polhill QB/DB 10

12 Rafe Chapple QB/DB 10

14 David McTier QB/DB 11

15 Jared Chapple QB/LB 12

16 Clay Metzger WR/DB 12

17 Kyle Scales RB/DB 11

18 Jonathan Ford TE/LB 12

19 Jack McLauglin QB/DB 10

20 Ross Wood WR/DB 10

21 Lavondre Nelson RB/DB 12

22 Connor Bennett TE/DB 12

23 T. Kimball-Brinson WR/DB 10

24 DaSean Daniels RB/LB 12

25 Gunner Cape RB/LB 10

26 Corey Stevenson WR/DB 11

27 Jonathon Pickens WR/DB 10

29 David Elrod WR/DB 10

32 Justis Rosser RB/LB 10

33 Connor Joseph TE/DE 10

34 Trevor Dedecker FB/LB 10

35 Kris Smith RB/DB 11

44 Jarrod Rickman FB/LB 12

45 George Thomas FB/DE 12

50 Eli Kahn OL/DL 10

51 Ben Lorick OL/DL 11

52 Tate Cooksey OL/DL 12

53 Scotty Andrews OL/DL 12

54 Andrew Bartolomei OL/LD 11

55 Corris Crockett OL/DL 11

56 Tony Jones Jr. TE/LB 11

57 Brandon Holzgrefe K 10

58 Aaron Ladd OL/DL 11

59 Mihir Desai OL/DL 12

61 Brayden Long OL/DL 10

62 Alex Jarrett OL/DL 10

63 Britt Lee OL/DL 10

64 Price Roberts OL/DL 10

65 Scott Crawford OL/DL 12

66 Khalil Lowry OL/DL 11

67 Connor Crumrine OL/DL 11

68 David Martinello OL/DL 12

70 Mac Sullivan OL/DL 10

72 Daniel Yoon OL/DL 11

75 Mitchell Shea OL/DL 10

76 Grant Bell OL/DL 12

77 Parker Fair OL/DL 12

78 Trent Jenkins OL/DL 10

79 Chase Roberts OL/DL 10

82 Conor Finneran WR/DB 11

83 Andrew Lewis WR/DE 11

85 Christopher Bartolomei WR/DB 11