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• CLASS/REGION: GISA Region 3-AAA
• 2013 RECORD: 4-6; missed playoffs
• COACH: Bill Murdock (26th year overall, 10th at Terrell Academy)
• RETURNING STARTERS: QB Dalton Todd (Sr., 6-0, 175); WR Raleigh Carlson (Sr., 5-11, 168); WR Gable Freeman (Sr., 5-9, 155); OL Bentley Griffin (Jr., 5-11, 185); OL Andrew Hatcher (Jr., 5-11, 205); OL Josh Gonzalez (Sr., 6-1, 235); RB/LB Logan Eubanks (Sr., 5-10, 180); DT Colt Copeland (Sr., 6-2, 255); DE Carter Spear (Sr., 6-1, 180); LB Christian Harris (Jr., 6-1, 215); CB Chase Dabbs (Sr., 5-10, 160)
• TOP NEWCOMERS: LB Hunter Mathis (So., 5-11, 195); CB Bishop Water (So., 5-9, 155); OL Josh Williams (So., 5-11, 240); OL Seth Bentley (So., 6-1, 200); DT Tyler Faust (Jr., 6-1, 240); LB Matt Britt (Jr., 5-10, 185); RB Cameron Clements (So., 5-10, 185); LB Cole Marshall (Fr., 5-9, 155); DB Alex Smith (Jr., 5-9, 150); S Dalton Craft (Sr., 6-0, 160)
• 2014 SCHEDULE:
Aug. 22 — at Trinity Christian (Sharpsburg)
Aug. 29 — Southwest Georgia Academy
Sept. 5 — Heritage Christian
Sept. 12 — at Crisp Academy
Sept. 19 — Southland Academy
Sept. 26 — Westwood
Oct. 3 — Georgia Christian
Oct. 10 — at Brookwood
Oct. 17 — Valwood
Oct. 24 — at Deerfield-Windsor
Oct. 31 — at Tiftarea
DAWSON — After a tumultuous season that included three losses of margins exceeding 25 points, capped with a 42-7 loss to Westwood in the season finale, the Terrell Academy Eagles are looking to bounce back in the wake of a region realignment that brought them up to GISA Region 3-AAA.
The Eagles will now be competing for a state playoff spot among the state’s top GISA schools, including Deerfield, Valwood and Southland.
The Eagles have added Trinity Christian and Griffin Christian to an already fearsome schedule. They’ll get the chance to avenge road losses at the hands of Southland, Southwest Georgia Academy, Valwood, and Westwood on their home field this year.
“The only difference is a couple more teams,” assistant coach Ashley Walker said. “We’ve always played Southland, Tiftarea, and that whole group, so the schedule isn’t totally different.”
Head coach Bill Murdock, who is entering his 10th year at Terrell Academy, captained a young bunch last year. Losses with such large margins, contrasted with wins by margins just as large, isn’t out of the ordinary for a talented yet inexperienced team still trying to gain its identities on both sides of the ball.
“Last year we went 5-6,” Walker said. “It’s not that we weren’t competitive in our ballgames, it was just an up-and-down, inconsistent year. We’d have a good week, then a not-so-good week. We could never just put a complete game together. Now, with young guys who’ve played, who are a year older, I think we can expect some good things.”
The main catalyst behind what the Eagles hope is a resurgence in Region 3-AAA is quarterback Dalton Todd. Formerly a signal-caller for Sherwood Christian, Todd is poised to lead the team to a playoff run this season.
“We’re just looking forward to playing a good football season and winning games,” Dalton said. “Hopefully we can make it to the playoffs and go as far as we can.
After leading the Eagles’ offense through the air with limited offensive threats last year, Walker believes there’s little reason to suspect the senior quarterback will show signs of falling off in 2014.
“Dalton led our offense last year,” Walker said. “We averaged about 32 points per game, and he led us. It’s a good thing having him back. He’s a good guy to have in the backfield under center, because he knows how to run this offense. He throws the ball well, plus he can run the ball so he’s a pretty good dual threat for us.”
Walker mentioned Riley Calson, a returning All-State wide receiver, as a playmaking threat to be aware of. His quarterback is even more excited than his coaching staff about the Eagles’ offensive potential.
“We want to work on our run game,” Todd said. “We were primarily a passing team last year, so we’re looking forward to building the run game and even adding to the passing game. (Senior tailback) Logan Eubanks should be carrying the rushing load this year, but watch out for the Riley-Todd combination.”