By Michael Parker
Assistant Football Coach
As the summer workouts have now come to an end the beginning of football season is right around the corner, the Pickens Dragons are coming off a somewhat down season as they finished the season 5-6, after two straight 8-3 seasons, but did manage to make the state playoffs for the third consecutive season. Coach Parker said he was very happy with the way the team has worked since spring practice and he believes that the future is bright for the hometown Dragons.
The Dragons start this season again with a very tough stretch early having to travel to Chattahoochee, who barely missed the playoffs last season in 6AAAAAA, before playing Pepperell, who was a quarterfinalist team last season. Afterwards they will host North Hall, who was also a playoff team last year, and then wrapping up non-region play at home against North Forsyth a 7AAAAAAA school on the upswing.
“Our non-region schedule should help us prepare for the tough teams that we’ll face in the region and hopefully better prepare us for playing later into the season.” commented Coach Parker.
The Dragons will see a lot of new faces this year on both sides of the ball, on offense the return their leader in Quarterback Jacob Brumby who passed for over 1,700 yards and 11 touchdowns. Along with Brumby we have his top to receivers in Zach Goss, who caught 32 balls for 463 yards and three TD’s, and Trevon Hawkins, who caught 24 passes for 375 yards and four TD’s. Josh Cain and newcomer Alex Snelgrove will also mix in as the Dragons plan on using a lot of receivers this year. At running back it will be a different story. The Dragons leading returning rusher has less than 200 yards. The running game will lean heavily on newcomer Robert Davis who transferred in last season and has shown signs of being an excellent ball carrier, according to Coach Parker. Hawkins, Michael Burrell and C.J. Streicher will also carry some of the load as well.
Offensive line is another group that will have a lot of new faces this year as they are replacing four seniors off of last year’s group. Senior Center Matt Bradley will be the guy that looks to pull this young group together for hopefully a very potent offensive attack. Offensive Line Coach Ty Maxwell said that he thought his group has a lot of potential, while they are young and somewhat inexperienced he believes that they play with a lot of heart and are improving every day.
The defensive side is in a similar situation as they are preparing to play a lot of new faces. The defensive line will be led by two seniors in Zach Swaim and Colby McDowell, both who have had great off seasons and pushed their way into the starting rotation. Chase Jarrett & Clayton Holland are both expected to be involved as well. At linebacker there will be four new faces and the only one with any experience is Sophmore C.J. Streicher who looks to take control of the strong side of the defense. Newcomers Hunter Hermann and Boz Gayden at inside linebacker have shown a lot of improvement since the spring and Andrew Macom has slid his way into the hybrid LB/DL position on the weak side.
The defensive backfield boasts the most experience in returning Michael Burrell, who is the team’s leading returning tackler, and Trevon Hawkins. They were able to get some more depth from some newcomers in Kaleb Ray and Jay Jones, who have both shown flashes of greatness in the early parts of the season.
Dragons begin their season on August 11th when they scrimmage at Coosa High School and the first game being the following Friday, August 18th at Chattahoochee High School.