August 17, 2004
Undated-- Southland Academy head coach Jack Harris is pleased with the progress the Raiders have made in his three years at the helm, but that doesn't mean he's satisfied. "Size is not where we want it to be but it's certainly increasing. I think the biggest thing is that we got more football players on the field," Harris said.
Those bigger numbers create more depth for the Raiders, which is most noticeable in their offensive backfield. Aaron Shivers and Ben Pityer are what coach Harris refers to as the best one-two punch in the state. "We've got Aaron who's a slicer and dicer who can run with a little bit of power and then we've got Ben who can muscle up on you a little bit, he can break tackles."
Over in Damascus, the Southwest Georgia Academy Warriors are coming off a tremendous season in which they played for the double-A state championship. And although they fell short of their ultimate goal, coach Bill Murdock says that only has his team wanting it that much more this year. "We didn't win the final game but there were a lot of other schools that wish they could've played for it and had the chance. But they've been hungry," Murdock said.
The Warriors lose quarterback Cody Tabb to graduation, but Murdock says senior Brian Lovering will have no problem filling his shoes. Identical twins James and John Stone will more than likely be Lovering's favorite targets and Kyle Sheffield anchors the offensive line. "Our team chemistry in the spring and summer has been real good, and we're just looking forward to seeing what happens."
Two years ago it was Tiftarea who played for a state title and came up on the losing end. But with 7 starters back on both sides of the ball, head coach Mayo Tucker says his team is primed to make another run at the crown. "That's our goal to get back to that game and make a little change in the outcome this time," Tucker said.
Tucker will look to running back Whit Coarsey and wide receiver Jeffrey Dowdy to lead the offense behind sophomore quarterback Brian Ellis. On defense cornerback Zach Williams will have opposing offenses looking the other way.
"We have more players than we've ever had and I think we just need to come together as a team and I think we'll have a good year."
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