Albany-- In high school football, the future is looking bright with new coaches at Dougherty and Monroe. Both Carror Wright and Charley Truitt are hoping they can top the success that Westover's Jeff Caldwell had in his first season.
Jeff Caldwell proved he was the right man for the job in leading the Patriots to a five and five record and their first state playoff appearance in more than 20 years. "Hopefully we are building on it and hopefully we have got a few more kids in camp this year and hopefully it is something that will only grow," said the coach.
Caldwell's goal now is not to just get Westover back to the postseason but to win a playoff game. In his second season, the Patriots return five starters on offense and have six back on defense. While the Patriots return receiver Aairon Savage, there is a four player battle to see who will get Savage the football at quarterback, while junior running back Tony Reid is looking to build on a solid sophomore season.
Getting back to the postseason will not easy with three teams dropping down into the region. Caldwell said "Those certainly have got to be considered the tops and those certainly ones that we have got to knock it up a notch to play with."
One of those teams dropping back into Region 1-AAA is the Dougherty High Trojans who are hoping Carror Wright can return this program its status as one of the top in the state. "C." Wright inherits a Dougherty team that has five returning starters on offense and six on defense. Among those returning starters is junior quarterback Ronnye Nelson, whose favorite targets receiver Kenneth Ware.
Over on defense, Wright is counting on linebacker Morrell Jones and cornerback Courtney Love to lead a unit that will be inexperienced on the front line.
Wright said, "Football in my philosophy is going to start with defense. Ten of the last 21 games I have coached have been shutouts. So that pride is over on defense."
New Monroe head coach Charles Truitt is an expert on defense but offense will the strength of his first Tornadoes team. Of the four returning defensive starters, all are defensive backs while the eight starters back on offense include quarterback Terrance Ransom. One of the top college prospects in the south, Ransom has three of his favorite targets back including Patrick Brown and Monroe welcomes the return of running back Omar Ellis, who played at Deerfield-Windsor.
Coach Truitt knows his team will score some points this year, the question will the Tornadoes have to outscore their opponents to get back to the playoffs. "What we are doing is building an aggressive type of defense. We have been putting guys on the move and getting them stronger and we feel fortunate. We have got a great secondary and we just got to get better on the defensive line and I think we are getting there."
Our previews continue on Sunday night with a look at the Cairo, Crisp County and Worth County.