published Friday, August 17th, 2012

Preps Preview: Dalton Catamounts

Cole Calfee carries the ball for Dalton High School against Ringgold at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga in this file photo.
Cole Calfee carries the ball for Dalton High School against Ringgold at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga in this file photo.
Photo by Staff File Photo.

BY THE NUMBERS

1 — Losing seasons in the last 52 years. After having to forfeit four wins last year when the GHSA ruled the Catamounts had used an ineligble player, the program’s record 51-year streak of winning seasons came to an end.

6 — Consecutive seasons without a playoff win. Ronnie McClurg’s 2005 team won two playoff games, but the Cats have gone 0-4 since, despite winning 43 regular-season games.

21 — Region championships in program history, more than combined total titles earned by the other teams in Region 7-AAAA.

SCHEDULE

Aug. 24 at Ringgold

Sep. 7 Calhoun

Sep. 21 at Gilmer County

Sep. 28 Cass

Oct. 5 at Ridgeland*

Oct. 12 Northwest Whitfield*

Oct. 19 at LaFayette*

Oct. 26 Heritage*

Nov. 2 at Southeast Whitfield*

Nov. 9 Region 7-AAAA play-in game

* Region 7B-AAAA game

DALTON CATAMOUNTS

Coach: Matt Land (11-10 in two years here and overall)

Stadium: Harmon Field

Address: 112 Cappes St., Dalton, GA 30720

RECENT HISTORY

The Catamounts actually won eight games on the field but finished with an official 4-7 record after the GHSA ineligibility ruling. They lost to top-ranked Gainesville in the first round of the playoffs. Here’s a look at the regular-season win total for the last five years:

2011 ————(4)*

2010 ———————(7)

2009 ———————(7)

2008 ———————(7)

2007 ———————(9)

* Four wins were forfeited

THREE STRENGTHS

1) Motivation. A season filled with controversy, including four forfeited wins that ended the program’s state-record 51 consecutive winning seasons, has the Catamounts itching to take the field.

2) Though the offense features a run-heavy attack, Dalton has one of the more underrated weapons in the area in senior tight end Will Erwin.

3) A veteran coaching staff, led by respected offensive coordinator Bill Napier and longtime assistant Jim Bennett, always has the Catamounts prepared.

THREE CONCERNS

1) The Dalton run defense was not up to par a year ago, when the better teams on the schedule accumulated big yards. The coaches are stressing a return to a more physical style of defensive play.

2) The team graduated two talented tailbacks in Tre Bonds and Tre Beck, so replacing their 2,000-plus yards in the run-first offense is crucial. Uber-talented sophomore Kelvis Rhodes is the man to beat for the starting spot.

3) Dalton opens a week earlier than most Georgia teams, and the coaching staff is concerned that the new GHSA policy that limits practice time could affect the Catamounts early.

THREE QUESTIONS WITH ROBERT HARDAWAY

(Senior defensive lineman)

Q: What’s the biggest reason to be excited about this Catamounts team?

A: Honestly, to this point we’re prepared more than any team I’ve been on, and chemistry-wise this team has come together. If we execute and do our job, there’s no reason we shouldn’t have a great season.

Q: You get to play Northwest Whitfield in a game that counts this year. What does that game mean to you?

A: It’s huge. We can’t wait for that one. The fans always get into it, and it means a lot to the players.

Q: How can this team use the way last year unfolded — including the forfeiture of four wins — to its benefit?

A: I think we will use that as motivation, for sure. The way we see it, though it didn’t turn out that way in the record books, we should have won region and gone deeper in the playoffs. We’re definitely motivated to get started.


ROSTER

1 Kevin Nguyen (Junior)

2 Nathan Bryant (Junior)

3 Brandon Painter (Senior)

4 Elijah Stidmon (Junior)

5 Lyle Durham (Junior)

7 Chris Childs (Junior)

8 Jordan Adams (Freshman)

9 Vincent Diaz (Junior)

10 Jase Chastain (Freshman)

11 Eder Mora (Sophomore)

12 Cole Calfee (Senior)

13 Peter Stigmon (Sophomore)

14 Kiko Rodriguez (Sophomore)

15 Daniel Palacios (Senior)

16 Nielson Travis (Freshman)

17 Kary Dills (Senior)

18 Jacob Bartoo (Junior)

19 Payton Veraldi (Sophomore)

20 Brandon Dale (Senior)

21 Kelvis Rhodes (Sophomore)

22 Jordan McKinney (Freshman)

24 Gerardo Perez (Junior)

25 Marvin Hill (Senior)

27 Jerry Moreno (Senior)

28 Ethan Fromm (Senior)

30 Randy Nguyen (Senior)

32 Darius Towns (Sophomore)

34 Hunter Cleary (Senior)

35 Laighton Reese (Senior)

37 Devonte Davis (Junior)

38 D.L. Goins (Sophomore)

39 Chipper Elrod (Sophomore)

40 Robert Hardaway (Senior)

42 Cade Keylon (Sophomore)

44 Jay Rockholt (Junior)

45 Austin Eldridge (Sophomore)

48 Chase Westfall (Sophomore)

49 Ryan Young (Senior)

50 Hunter Nelson (Sophomore)

53 Grant Sane (Junior)

54 Jordan Keener (Junior)

55 Hayden Gross (Sophomore)

56 Uriel Perez (Sophomore)

57 Humberto Corona (Senior)

59 Manuel Hernandez (Sophomore)

60 Dakota Tankersley (Junior)

61 B.J. Rowland (Senior)

62 Daniel Hurtado (Sophomore)

63 Cleve Hall (Senior)

64 Andrew Williams (Freshman)

65 Evan Stuart (Sophomore)

66 Chip Young (Senior)

68 Juan Pacheco (Junior)

69 Jake Roberts (Junior)

70 Warner Braun (Sophomore)

71 Logan Mathis (Sophomore)

75 Chris Hicks (Sophomore)

76 Connor Cochran (Freshman)

77 Tommy Ridley (Sophomore)

78 Evan Pope (Sophomore)

79 Oscar Pena (Sophomore)

80 Francisco Calderon (Sophomore)

81 Ethan Marlow (Senior)

82 Tyler Britton (Sophomore)

83 Will Erwin (Senior)

84 Maklain Lawson (Sophomore)

86 Chase Todd (Junior)

87 Eribeth Martinez (Junior)

88 Omar Ortega (Sophomore)

90 Cristian Ortiz (Sophomore)

91 Larry Fernandez (Senior)

92 Rodrick Davidson (Junior)

93 Miguel Flores (Junior)

94 Salvador Alejandre (Junior)

95 Jose Davalos (Sophomore)

97 David Maldonado (Junior)

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