Dalton opens with Calhoun
Dalton High School opens the post-Jahmyr Gibbs era at home tonight at 7:30 against Calhoun.
Gibbs, now at Georgia Tech, starred at running back for the Catamounts, and a host of new faces on offense are set to try to replace his production this year, including Maurice Howard. Howard, a senior running back, will wear number 1 for Dalton, just like Gibbs, as he looks to be the new focal point in the Catamounts' backfield.
Calhoun is a longtime power in smaller classifications, but was bumped up to Class 5A prior to this season. Calhoun won 18 consecutive region titles before North Murray took the Region 6-3A title last season. Dalton is a Class 6A school.
Calhoun still has its standout running back from a year ago, Jerrian Hames, who rushed for 1,544 yards and 23 touchdowns on 215 carries in 2019.
New-look Northwest visits Coahulla Creek
Northwest Whitfield will break in 14 new starters tonight when it visits county rival Coahulla Creek at 7:30.
One returning starter for the Bruins is Owen Brooker, a sophomore who is entering his second season as the quarterback of the Northwest offense. An overhauled defense is anchored by returning linebacker Jordan McCamish, who had 165 tackles last season.
Creek is also facing a lot of turnover from 2019, and has a new head coach in Danny Wilson. Wilson spent the last three years as defensive coordinator under former head coach Caleb Bagley, and was elevated into the lead role when Bagley stepped down after last season.
Murray County squares off with Southeast
Murray County will host Southeast Whitfield tonight at 7:30 in a battle of teams that are looking to improve on last year.
The Indians have a senior class of 23 and return 14 starters from a squad that finished 4-6 in 2019. The goal for Murray County is to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2005.
Southeast will look to steal a game early after an 0-10 finish last year. New head coach Todd Murray’s Raiders will compete in a non-region schedule this season, making them ineligible for the playoffs.
Christian Heritage travels to Fellowship Christian
Christian Heritage’s 2020 schedule begins with a challenge, as the Lions travel to Roswell to play Fellowship Christian, a semifinalist in last year’s Class A Private playoffs.
The Lions are coming off a second-round playoff exit and a 9-2 record in 2019. Christian Heritage returns 17 starters from that squad.
North Murray still waiting for 2020 kickoff
One team that won’t be found on the field tonight is North Murray, which starts the season with two bye weeks and won’t suit up until Sept. 18, when the Mountaineers host Northwest Whitfield.