Clinch expecting a challenge for region 1-A title -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Clinch expecting a challenge for region 1-A title

August 13, 2004

Undated - When Cecil Barber left Clinch County High after almost three decades to become head coach at Jeff Davis High, the Panthers turned to another Clinch County alum in Jim Dickerson to take over a program that has been to the state semifinals three straight years and won the state Class-A title two years ago.

Dickerson, who played and coached for Cecil Barber, has a defense that returns nine starters. However, on offense the Panthers have just two starters back.

Dickerson said "Down here we stress defense. We feel like defense wins championships as the old saying goes and we are definitely going to lean hard on our defense this year."

Turner County has moved back down to Class-A and the Rebels have Erik Soliday back as their head coach.

Soliday, who won back to back state titles at Americus, has his work cut out for him with just three starters back on each side of the ball.

 On offense Russell Coker and Soliday's son Michael are battling for the starting quarterback job while on the Rebels should be strong on defense with linebacker Brett Gibson and defensive end Stuart Jones.

Soliday said "We are going to try to be competitive this year. That is our goal is to come out here and get this thing turned around quick."

 Head coach Lloyd McDonald is getting ready for his 16th season at Atkinson County.

And McDonald has his work cut out for him like a first year coach.

The Rebels of Atkinson County lost seven starters on offense and nine more on defense.

Coach McDonald though is not that worried about such losses because he believes their replacements, though young, can be very good.

McDonald said "We have got some pretty good prospects but they just have never played and we are thinking that we should get better as the year goes and we should be better by the time we get to our region schedule."

Over at Lanier County, head coach Daniel McFather doesn't have a deep roster but he does have experience.

 The Bulldogs return 13 starters, seven on offense and six on defense.

One of those returning offensive starters is quarterback Sylvester West, who is getting ready for his fourth season running the Lanier wishbone offense.

McFather said "He is making great reads, great pitches. He has really worked on his speed and his strength this year so we are looking for some good things out of Sylvester."

McFather is also looking for some great things over on a defensive unit led by linebacker T. J. Brown and Dereke Eubanks as the Bulldogs hope to win their way to the state playoffs.

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