Randolph Southern head coach Ottis Griggs
Counting down to kickoff
EDITOR’S NOTE: Today’s in-depth look at Randolph-Clay and Randolph Southern marks the third and fourth of 26 prep football season previews that will appear in the sports section during the next two weeks as we count down to Kickoff 2012. On Friday, we’ll take a closer look at Pelham and Calhoun County. Enjoy!
SHELLMAN — Don’t try to ask Randolph Southern’s players about last season.
They’ve forgotten all about it.
The 2-9 record, the last-place finish in the GISA Region 2-A standings, the handful of seniors who quit the team — it’s all in the past for this year’s Patriots.
“I told them the first day that we would talk briefly about last year, and that would be it. Last year would be over,” Randolph Southern coach Ottis Griggs said. “True to form, we have not, and we are not going to compare anything this year to last year. It’s in the past.”
Randolph Southern has plenty to look forward to, including a talented backfield, which is made up of senior Matt Kendrick, junior Khashaad Johnson and sophomore Logan Eubanks.
Senior quarterback Trey Goree can also run.
“I would rather run than pass, so I am with them,” Goree said. “We have a strong backfield and the line is doing really well this year. I believe we are going to be all right.”
Randolph Southern’s rushing attack will be its strength this season, and it will be a total team effort. Senior Blake Lamb is listed on the team’s roster as a WR/center, but even he plans on getting in on the running game.
“Everyone can run the ball, pretty much, if we had to,” Lamb said. “That’s going to be our best spot, running the ball and getting outside with our speed.”
And Griggs said they have the perfect quarterback running the offensive show.
“We are going to run from under center, and we are also going to run from shotgun, and Goree can handle both,” Griggs said. “I think he is going to be fine because he knows the offense and understands it and throws the ball decent. He understands how it functions and what we are going to attempt to do.”
The Patriots have 19 players on their roster, and 11 of them are returning starters, including seniors Goree, Lamb, Kendrick, Brett Sauls (TE/LB), Grant Ward (DT/DE), Owen Deal (G/LB), Cameron Barley (T/DE) and Drew Weathersby (G/DT).
Randolph Southern opens the season Aug. 24 at Nathanael Greene, which finished 1-9 last season.
The Patriots have their home opener Aug. 31 against Terrell Academy, a team they ended last season against with a 50-24 loss.
Sauls thinks this season is going to be different.
“We feel better about our team this year,” Sauls said. “We feel like we have a good chance to do some damage.”
RANDOLPH SOUTHERN'S 2012 OUTLOOK:
HEAD COACH: Ottis Griggs (9th season overall at Randolph Southern, 3rd season as head coach).
2012 RECORD: 2-9.
ASSISTANT COACHES: Curtis Stanfield (OL/DL), Jordan Simpkins (RB/DB), Don Wilkerson (OL/DL).
RETURNING STARTERS: Trey Goree (Sr., QB/S), Blake Lamb (Sr., WR/C), Matt Kendrick (Sr., RB/DB), Brett Sauls (Sr., TE/LB), Grant Ward (Sr., DT/DE), Owen Deal (Sr., G/LB), Scotty Milner (Jr., C), Cameron Barley (Sr., T/DE), Jared Sauls (So., QB/S), Logan Eubanks (So., FB/LB), Drew Weathersby (Sr., G/DT).
OTHER KEY PLAYERS: Josh McDowell (Jr., G/DT), Khashaad Johnson (Jr., WB/LB), Jonathan Davenport (Jr., G/DT), Brandon Clark (Jr., WB/DB), Marquon Jones (Jr., WB/DB), Conley Powers (So., OL/DL), Matt Britt (Fr., RB/LB), Ross Hunter (Fr., OL/DL).
2012 Randolph Southern schedule
Aug. 24 at Nathanael Greene, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 31 vs. Terrell Academy, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 7 at Sherwood, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 14 vs. John Hancock, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 21 at Griffin Christian, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 5 vs. Frederica, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 12 at Robert Toombs, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 19 vs. Fullington, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 2 vs. First Presbyterian, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 9 at Crisp Academy, 7:30 p.m.
--- BOLD DENOTES GISA REGION 2-A GAME