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Hebron Christian Lions 2011 Football Preview

Hebron Christian Lions 2011 Football Preview

— Mascot: Lions. Coach: Sal Battaglia (0-0 at Hebron, 0-0 overall) Region: Non-region Last playoff appearance: N/A

Offense

The 2011 season will see plenty of changes for the Lions' offense.

In addition to installing a new pro-style set to replace the spread offense Hebron ran last year, new coach Sal Battaglia will have to replace all but one starter from last year's 9-1 squad.

The biggest task will be trying to replace graduated quarterback Christian Davila, who produced 2,900 yards of total offense and 44 TDs last season.

Senior Marshall Williams will be handed the reins of the offense under center, while junior Lew Stephens "1 last year's leading receiver with 39 catches for 540 yards and 6 TDs "1 and sophomore Matthew Glisson will be tasked with leading the receiver corps.

Meanwhile, senior Xavier Railey (pictured), junior Tyrone Johnston and freshman Hunter Johnson will try to bolster the running game in what had been more of a pass-oriented unit the past two seasons, while seniors T.J. Breedlove and Mac Norris will try to bring some experience to an otherwise young offensive line.

"It is a new system with a new coach, and we're both learning from each other right now," Battaglia said. "But I think they've picked it up pretty quickly."

Defense

Though there will be fewer new faces with Railey, Stephens and Tyler Smith all returning, the Lions' defense will be breaking in a new alignment, just like the offense.

Gone is the 3-4 alignment of last year, replaced by a 4-3-type set Battaglia says will be "different "1 like nothing anyone's seen much of around here."

The best news for the Lions is the returning starters from last year head up what should be the two strengths of the defensive unit as a whole.

Stevens and Railey bring plenty of experience to the secondary, while Smith should be a steady leader of what should be a strong linebacker corps at the "Mike" linebacker slot, along with fellow senior Jimmy Hawkins at the "Sam" position and sophomore Jay Wallo at the "Will" position.

"Tyler Smith will be the quarterback of the defense," Battaglia said. "Jimmy Hawkins and Wallo have also been looking good. So, I think linebacker will be a strong point for us."

The biggest question mark will likely be up front, where Johnston, Norris and sophomores Jake Calle and Joe Bova will all be pulling double duty as offensive starters, as well.

Youth is served

With literally half the roster occupied by freshmen and sophomores, the Lions will be among Gwinnett County's youngest teams this fall.

But from Battaglia's point of view, that isn't necessarily a bad thing, even with brand-new sets on both offense and defense in the process of being installed.

"We'll be very young," Battaglia said. "We're just learning, and that may be a good thing. If we had an experienced team with all these changes we're making, I'm not sure it's an easy transition, 'c9 especially with the defense. We're not having to break some habits that we might going from a 3-4 to a 4-3. That's been a blessing."

2011 Schedule

Aug. 26 at Prince Avenue

Sept. 2 at Southside Chr.

Sept. 9 Athens Chr.

Sept. 16 at George Walton

Sept. 23 Lakeview Acad.

Sept. 30 at Baconton

Oct. 7 GMC

Oct. 21 at N. Cobb Chr.

Oct. 28 Cross Keys

Nov. 4 Towns County

2010 Results (9-1)

Prince Avenue W 35-13

Southside Chr. W 49-21

at Athens Chr. W 22-21

George Walton L 50-17

at Lakeview W 28-19

Baconton Charter W 48-6

at GMC W 42-7

N. Cobb Chr. W 47-13

at Cross Keys W 63-16

at Towns County W 49-6

Home sweet home

For the first time, Hebron will have a place to call home for their third season of varsity football this fall.

After playing their home games in different venues two years ago and splitting home games between Lanier High School and Greater Atlanta Christian last season, the Lions will be host five games at their new on-campus stadium.

"It's great we'll be able to play true home games this year," Battaglia said. "This is very exciting. I keep telling the kids, because they haven't experienced it yet, "4The first time you walk on the field in front of your own fans and under your own lights, it's going to be something you remember the rest of your lives.'"

PROBABLE STARTERS

Offense

QB Marshall Williams (6-1, 180, Sr.)

TB Xavier Railey (5-10, 160, Sr.)

oHunter Johnson (5-7, 130, Fr.)

FB Ty Johnston (5-7, 150, Jr.)

WR Matthew Glisson (5-7, 150, Soph.)

WR Lew Stephens (5-10, 170, Sr.)

TE Seth Kuntz (6-3, 200, Jr.)

RT Joe Bova (5-10, 220, Soph.)

RG T.J. Breedlove (5-11, 195, Sr.)

C Jake Calle (5-9, 200, Soph.)

LG Mac Norris (5-10, 215, Sr.)

LT John Adams (6-5, 215, Jr.)

K TBD

Defense

DE Joe Bova (5-10, 220, Soph.)

DT Ty Johnston (5-7, 150, Jr.)

DT Mac Norris (5-10, 215, Sr.)

DE Jake Calle (5-9, 200, Soph.)

SLB Jimmy Hawkins (5-10, 175, Sr.)

MLB Tyler Smith (6-1, 195, Sr.)

WLB Jay Wallo (5-9, 170, Soph.)

CB Matthew Glisson (5-7, 150, Soph.)

CB Xavier Railey (5-10, 160, Sr.)

SS Lew Stephens (5-10, 170, Sr.)

FS Seth Kuntz (6-3, 200, Jr.)

P TBA

Region preview

Once again, the Lions will continue to play a non-region schedule before jumping into full region competition when the GHSA realigns regions next year.

However, for the second straight season, they will get an early taste of what region competition will be like when they take on six different teams from Region 8-A "1 which Hebron is a member of in other sports "1this fall.

"No doubt it will prepare us for region play next year," Battaglia said. "The nice thing is that we're young. A lot of freshmen and sophomores will get a chance to play and get their feet wet with this schedule. It's ideal."

-David Friedlander

Hebron roster

1 Trey Selman QB/DB 9

2 Lew Stephens WR/DB 12

3 Marshall Williiams QB 12

4 Jimmy Hawkins RB/LB 12

5 Matthew Glisson WR/DB 10

6 Austin Schulteis WR/DB 11

7 Josh Heflin WR/DB 10

8 Hunter Johnson RB/DB 9

9 Charlie Redovian WR/LB 9

11 Ethan Reynolds WR/DB 9

16 Taylor Youngblood WR/LB 12

20 Seth Kuntz TE/DB 11

21 Xavier Railey RB/DB 12

31 Jay Wallo RB/LB 10

32/55 Rob Harrison TE/C 12

35 Tyler Smith RB/DB 12

41 Ty Johnston RB/DL 11

54 Jake Calle OL/DL 10

56 Joe Bova OL/DE 10

64 Ben Converse OL/DE 10

66 John Adams OL/DE 11

67 T.J. Breedlove OL/DE 12

68 Robert Styles OL/DL 10

73 Robert Heflin OL/DL 9

75 Mac Norris OL/DL 12

78 Gabe Marty OL/DL 9