Chattooga used intense offseason to find new starters

Staff photo by Robin Rudd / Chattooga football coach Shawn Peek put the Indians through spring practices plus a half-dozen team camps this summer.

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CHATTOOGA INDIANS

Head coach: Shawn Peek (8-13 here; 107-91 overall)

Returning starters: 4 offensive; 2 defensive

Last year's record: 5-5 overall, lost in GHSA Class AA first round

Key players: Billy Settlemoir (6-2, 260) Sr. OL, Zadyn Perry (5-11, 175) Sr. RB, Bubba Bass (5-10, 205) Jr. OL, Ty Hall (6-2, 225) Jr. DL, Rocco Coppola (5-9, 215) So. OL, Brady Groce (6-6, 195) Sr. QB, Quarry Gibson (5-9, 160) So. WR/DB, Conner Elrod (6-1, 225) So. OL

Season outlook: There isn't a Georgia team in the area breaking in more new starters than the Indians, and to that end Coach Peek and his veteran staff packed as much as they could into the spring and early summer.

"We had a good 10-day spring session that included a game, and we went through four 7-on-7 and two pad camps this summer, so we've played a lot of ball to get ready," Peek said. "The good thing is we're pretty set on all our starters."

The extra work also helped the Indians prepare for a new offense. After running the triple option in Peek's first two seasons, they will be a spread team under former LaFayette and Fort Payne (Alabama) coach Paul Ellis.

First-time starter Groce will have a nice weapon in Gibson, a player Peek said has elite ball skills. The ground game, which lost four-year starting running back Lashaun Lester, should be in good hands with Perry and a line anchored by Settlemoir.

There will likely be seven freshmen and sophomores starting on defense, a unit that will be tested in the team's new region, 7-A (Division I), which includes the likes of Darlington, Pepperell, Dade County and Trion.