Head Coach Chris Hughes has done a great job in restoring order to the football program at Georgia’s oldest public high school. His team’s offensive production the past few years has commanded attention throughout the area. Gifted athletes at the quarterback position, such as the 2009 3-AAAA Region Player of the Year Mar-Quan Medlock, and dual-threat, all-everything Drek Reid, have flourished under Hughes’ system. New starter, junior Thomas Ellison, has been sharpening his skills over the past few years and looks to keep this group on the path of success. But, whereas in previous years where the skill positions were the strongest point of the Musketeers team, line play, both offensive and defensive, will be the strong suit for this year’s team. Starting with junior Will Jones (6’7 310), will provide size and looks to have a strong impact at offensive tackle (and should be the first guy off the bus during away games), senior Diquan Washington (6’3 220), bolsters an already talented defensive line, and senior Marvin Davis (5’11 260), who plays on both sides of the ball and will be essential to this teams success.
No coach in the area deserves more credit for completely turning a program around than Butler’s Ashley Harden. Coming in to the job as the new head man in 2009, Butler had lost 31 straight games. Harden preached his message to his guys, and then proceeded to lose another 10 games. A serious punch in the stomach for any first year head coach looking to change a program spiraling out of control. He kept fighting, coaching, leading. And instead of losing his team, they continued to buy what he was selling and that seed he planted blossomed into a 7-3 record last year. Harden himself will admit that they still have a long way to go, but Butler returns a nice senior class of players that contributed for the Bulldogs last season. Running backs Jeffery Menefee returns as well as Christan Garnett to lead their potent Wing-T offense. Defensive lineman Delonzo Harris returns after accumulating 7 sacks last year to help lead a defense who have always had the athletes to succeed, but lacked the one thing that fuels any defense worth of note. Confidence.
This time last year Jarrett Troxler was already under the gun when it came to getting everything perfect for his first year as a head football coach. He was taking over a program from his mentor who led the school to their best finish ever (10-2), establishing himself as the head coach instead of being an coordinator, and getting a light speed tutorial on offensive and defensive game planning instead of just one side of the ball. Everything seemed to go as planned, until his most athletic player on offense, quarterback Mark Weidenaar, went down with a season-ending knee injury. Troxler had planned on splitting time between Weidenaar and Ben Wilson—who went on to be the Region 2-AAAA North Player of the Year—but those plans were halted immediately. Troxler then went on to lose starting linebacker Kendal Parker to an injury and soon all Troxler could do is just sit and wonder what would happen next. The Panthers finished with a 4-6 record, with notable losses to Northside in Warner Robbins, North Augusta and perennial power Statesboro. Coach Troxler returns talented players on both sides of the ball for a season that hopefully will be remembered for who was on the field and not reminded of who was off of it. Knock on wood.