On July 25 and with the permission of the GHSA, teams all over the state and in Henry County can officially begin to practice.
The Hampton Hornets will be the newest team in the area, representing Hampton High, which opens in August.
They will be coached by Chad Ashley, who built up his coaching resume in North Carolina.
The Hornets will compete in the realigned Region 4-AAAA against Eagle’s Landing, Henry County, Locust Grove and others from outside of the county in the 13-team region.
Before Hampton, Locust Grove was the newest program in the area and the Wildcats earned a 7-3 record in 2009.
While Jonathan Gess (ELCA), Joe Teknipp (Eagle’s Landing), Kevin Whitley (Stockbridge), Morris Starr (Henry County), Paul Burgdorf (Union Grove), Nic Vasilchek (Luella) and Clint Satterfield (Locust Grove) will all be back in their familiar position, four teams will have new coaches.
At Dutchtown, Mark Myers is replacing Kevin Jones. Last season, Myers was the offensive coordinator at Henry County and has already come across some early success with the Bulldogs when they won the Southside Shootout 7-on-7 tournament last month.
“Our kids have been working hard all summer,” Myers said last month. “This is a dedication to them and my staff. This is just commitment from my players. They bought into the summer program, came out and worked hard and they wanted it.”
Myers is expecting to see more success from junior quarterback K’Lin Epps and senior running back Malik Barkley, who has earned the attention of schools in the SEC.
“I feel like I have two of the most explosive offensive weapons in the whole county,” Myers said of Epps and Barkley. “That is a great tandem. They can compete with any tandem in the county.”
At Woodland, Steve Davenport is replacing Scott Schmitt. Davenport has six seasons of head coaching experience in Georgia, including a 41-24 record. He also coached at Savannah State for two seasons.
At Ola, Jared Zito is taking the place previously held by John Kovzel. Zito, who was the offensive coordinator at Westlake High last year, has a 28-37 record in six seasons, while coaching at North Forsyth and Dacula, respectively.
At Strong Rock Christian, Tommy Webb is replacing Mark Miller. Webb has 12 years of coaching experience in Georgia with a 48-75 record. He has been the defensive coordinator the last three seasons.