Georgia's Region 6-AAA will not be for the faint of heart — or for football fans who enjoy defensive-minded games — in 2014.
The region, consisting of most of the programs from the old 5-AAA league, is heavy on offense. Though the group lost Cartersville and its 40 points per game, it welcomes in perennial Class AA power Calhoun, another 40-point machine in 2013. Holdovers Ringgold, North Murray and Adairsville each averaged more than 30 points per game a year ago.
"It's not a slouch," said new Sonoraville head coach Jim Kremer, a defensive guru who helped build Calhoun's dominant squads under Hal Lamb. "Some people in the state think we're weak in North Georgia, but from what I know is that teams in this area have been in the [Georgia] Dome quite a bit [for state finals].
"There are some explosive offenses in this region, and every game will be a challenge."
Of course, if the offenses were so strong a year ago, that also means defenses often were left searching for answers. Six of the nine league teams -- Murray County, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe, Sonoraville, Gordon Central, North Murray and Coahulla Creek -- gave up 30 or more points per game.
Will all that offensive-ness carry over to 2014?
"Every season is different, but if you look at some of the teams in this region you quickly see there are some great offensive players," said Ringgold coach Robert Akins, whose Tigers have a pair of them in running backs Kile Sholl and D.L. Goins. "I'm not sure you'll see that many points per game this year -- at least that's what we're counting on defensively. I know either way it's going to be exciting."
The Tigers, who have to replace Best of Preps player of the year Slade Dale at quarterback, are an exception in one area offensively. Nearly every other region teams runs some version of the spread, including Calhoun.
The Yellow Jackets, who had a run of five consecutive appearances in the Class AA championship game end last season, don't expect much of a drop-off offensively with the move up, even though they are starting new players at quarterback, tailback and all three receiver positions.
"It's a big challenge moving up, but it's mostly good and I believe we can hold our ground in three-A," Calhoun coach Hal Lamb said. "We're excited about the guys stepping into starting positions. They've waited their turn and put in the work, and now it's time to produce.
"It might be rough at the start trying to find out where we belong, but with teams like Ringgold, Adairsville and North Murray, we know it will be tough."
Especially for the defenses.
Contact Lindsey Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6296.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...