The Wolfpack’s offseason has been about transitioning the program into a new phase, replacing a stellar senior class of 2013 and preparing for its first season in Class 6A, the state’s highest classification.
“We’ve had a good offseason and the kids have invested a lot in the weight room,” head coach Scott Jones said. “We lost a lot of good players but we’re excited for the kids here who have an opportunity.”
Junior Kyle Banks will start at quarterback, replacing last season’s Paulding County offensive player of the year Chase Noonan. Banks appeared in nine games last year in a backup role and threw five touchdowns.
“Kyle has had a good summer and taken charge of the team,” said Jones.
North Paulding’s offense, which averaged 41 points per game last season, returns several senior skill players including running back Mechach Mays and wide receiver Brad Swan. Jones is optimistic about the veterans on the offensive line led by Ben Austin, Trae Major and Evan Cave.
“We’re coming together as a team and working hard,” Swan said.
Defensively, the Wolfpack gave up only 19 points per contest last season, but lost its top three tacklers to graduation.
Returners include senior free safety Jacob Daniel had 77 tackles last season, along with starting cornerbacks Bilquan Walton and Rushaun Jackson.
“Our defense isn’t big but faster than last year’s unit,” Jones said.
The Wolfpack’s defensive front seven will be led by West Point-commit and senior lineman Tanner Sheffield along with junior linebackers Javier Williams and Dale Craig.
North Paulding continues its program growth this season, installing a new field turf playing surface to the game field.
“Coach Jones has done a great job taking our program to the next level,” Sheffield said.
The Wolfpack open the season Friday at the Corky Kell Classic against Creekview. The neutral-site game will be held at McEachern High School in Powder Springs.
Head Coach: Scott Jones, 18th year as a head coach (88-80-0), third year at North Paulding (19-6-0).
Last year: 11-2 overall; first in Region 5-AAAAA; made state playoffs