Aug. 26 at LaFayette
Sept. 2 Pepperell
Sept. 9 at Armuchee
Sept. 16 at Calhoun*
Sept. 23 Sonoraville*
Sept. 30 Lakeview-FO*
Oct. 14 North Murray*
Oct. 21 Gordon Central*
Oct. 28 Dade County
Nov. 4 Region play-in game
* Region 7B-AA game
Coach: Brad Waggoner 49-25 (here and overall)
Returning starters (O/D/K): 9/8/2
Remember these names: Quarterback Nathan Shuster (Sr., 6-1, 190) will continue his career next year at Georgia State. He had more than 1,700 all-purpose yards last season. Left tackle Luke Brantley (Sr., 6-6, 250) has committed to the Air Force Academy. Waggoner said Ivy League schools drooled over Brantley, who will major in physics. Ronnell Sims (Jr., 5-7, 165) is likely to be the featured running back. He's more of a speed runner than a power player. Linebacker Shaun Lawrence (So., 5-11, 150) leads the defense. He had 24 tackles against North Murray last year.
Will be a memorable year if: The Indians reach the state playoffs. An 0-4 start hampered that goal last year. Three of those four losses came down to the final minute, so Waggoner said he's looking for a faster start to the season. And beating Calhoun is always a goal to shoot for. "If we stay healthy, it will be a fun year," he said.
There's always one awkward moment for Waggoner when he gathers with his in-laws, no matter what the Indians did in their last game or how well the season is going.
Somebody eventually will bring up the fact that he hasn't beat Calhoun but that his wife, Mary Beth, cheered for Chattooga the last time the Indians beat the Yellow Jackets - in 2000.
"I hear about it all the time," Waggoner said. "Calhoun is a big rival for us in every sport. They've had our number in football and baseball for a while. But we've got their number in basketball."
The 2000 Indians won 31-7 at Calhoun. Their only regular-season loss came at Cartersville, which reached the Georgia Dome that year. Chattooga's season ended with a loss to Lamar County in the first round of playoffs.