Score Atlanta, founded in 2004 as a weekly sports paper, now produces television and digital broadcasts along with a multitude of promotional print projects for partners such as the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United, the Georgia High School Association, National Guard, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Score has the most-used app for state high school scores and operates events such as the Corky Kell + Dave Hunter Classic, the Great Atlanta Bash, the Drive for the GHSA State Title, and the Georgia Elite Classic. Score also started the Georgia High School Football Hall of Fame, which will have its second induction ceremony on Oct. 21. In partnership with Rough Draft and Reporter Newspapers, these team previews were authored by Seth Ellerbee, Najeh Wilkins, and Craig Sager II.

Chamblee High School

Head Coach: Bob Swank
Coach Record: 35-56
2022 Record: 8-3 
2022 Region Record: 4-1
2023 Region: 4-AAAAA
Stadium Name: North DeKalb Stadium

2023 Schedule:
8/18    @ South Cobb
8/25    @ Towers
9/01    vs. Dunwoody
9/08    vs. Duluth 
9/15    @ Riverwood
9/28    @ M.L. King
10/06  @ Tucker
10/20  vs. Arabia Mountain
10/27  @ Decatur 
11/02   vs. Lithonia  

Chamblee (Photo by Bella Pappas)

Head Coach Bob Swank led Chamblee to their best postseason finish since 2007 when they reached the semifinals. With back-to-back eight-win seasons, Swank has instilled a winning culture within the program.

In 2021, Chamblee was 9-1 and had their first nine-win season in over a decade. The Bulldogs are coming off an 8-3 season and now have three consecutive winning seasons under their belts. Chamblee had a high-powered offense last season averaging 38.4 points per game and eclipsing 50+ points in three games.

Their most impressive win was a 62-13 victory against McIntosh in the first round of the playoffs. Chamblee will return senior wide receiver Tristan Sizemore who was a force on offense and led the Bulldogs with 635 yards receiving and six touchdowns. Sizemore also had nine sacks leading the team. His exceptional skill set and versatility make him a valuable asset to the Bulldogs’ roster. With Sizemore’s return, the team can rely on his leadership, experience, and playmaking abilities to propel them to new heights in the upcoming season.

Chamblee will replace senior quarterback Fabian Walker who threw for 2,108 passing yards and 21 touchdowns last season. The rushing attack will remain intact as running back Larry Harris returns to the offense. Harris led Chamblee in rushing yards and touchdowns last season. On the defensive side of the game, Jeffery Thornton will return. He was second on the team with 75 tackles.

Chamblee will look to build upon last season’s success and make a deeper run in the postseason.

Cross Keys High School

Head Coach: Eric Quarles
Coach Record: 0-0-0
2022 Record: 0-8
2022 Region Record: 0-0
2023 Region: 4-AAAAA
Stadium Name: Adams Stadium

2023 Schedule:
8/18  @ Walker
8/24  vs. Community Christian
8/31  vs. Flint River
9/07  @ Clarkston 
9/15  @ Heritage-Newnan
9/21 vs. Harvester Christian Academy
10/20 @ Seckinger

After another tough season, the Cross Keys will have a new signal caller and coach in 2023. For Cross Keys, a program that has endured a two-year winless streak, the upcoming season marks a turning point. With their third head coach in as many years, Eric Quarles, at the helm, Cross Keys is poised to rewrite their narrative and change the culture that has plagued them for far too long.

While the team has struggled throughout its history, there are glimmers of hope, particularly in their talented secondary. Returning will be rising junior SS Brandon Castro who led the Indians with 61 total tackles and four interceptions last season. Rising sophomore Marquis Earl had 56 tackles and three interceptions last season as a freshman. Their outstanding performance is a testament to their skill and growth potential within the team. With the right guidance and support, these players could become integral to Cross Keys’ future success.

On offense, rising senior Luis Hernandez led the Indians in rushing yards last year. Hernandez rushed for 389 yards and a touchdown. Although Cross Keys may have never reached the playoffs in their team’s history, this should not overshadow the potential that lies within the program. The appointment of Eric Quarles signifies a renewed focus on creating a winning culture.

With a dedicated coaching staff and talented players in the secondary, Cross Keys is well-positioned to break free from the shackles of their past and make a push towards the postseason.

Dunwoody High School (Photo by Ken Langley)

Dunwoody High School

Head Coach: Michael Nash
Head Coach Record: 22-56
2022 Record: 5-5
2022 Region Record: 1-4
2023 Region: 4-AAAAAA
Stadium Name: North DeKalb Stadium

2023 Schedule:
8/18   vs. North Springs 
9/01   @ Chamblee
9/08   @ Druid Hills
9/15   vs. Northview
9/22   @ Lakeside-Dekalb 
9/29    vs. Marist
10/13  vs. St. Pius X
10/20  @ South Cobb
10/26  vs. Riverwood
11/03  @ North Atlanta

 Dunwoody had their first .500 or better season since 2011 and the first under Mike Nash as head coach. It was also the highest-scoring team under Nash’s Dunwoody tenure. The Wildcats scored 255 points last season and averaged 25.50 points per game the highest since 2011. Dunwoody also went on an impressive three-game winning streak where they shut out all three opponents and scored 30+ points in each game.

Dunwoody will replace the bulk of their rushing production in Jordan Wade and Porter Ledoyen who graduated in May. QB Ledoyen made first-team all-region offense last season. Both players made up 85% of the rushing attack last season and combined for 18 rushing touchdowns. The Wildcats will be a very young team offensively after graduating the majority of their upperclassmen including their playmakers at wide receiver.

A bright spot will be the return of Porter Allison who will be a focal point of the offense. Last season Allison was third on the team in receiving yards. Defensively, Dunwoody will be very experienced as they return their entire linebacking core and the majority of their secondary and defensive line.

One of the standouts returning is Luke Cole. Cole led the Wildcats in tackles and sacks last season. Cole accumulated 103 tackles, eight sacks, and 15 tackles for loss. He was named first-team all-region defense last season proving how vital he is to the team.

The Wildcats are seeking their first playoff appearance since 2009 when they made the second round.

Greater Atlanta Christian School

Head Coach: Tim Hardy
Head Coach Record: 123-47
2022 Record: 5-6
2022 Region Record: 3-3
2023 Region: 6-AAAAA
Stadium Name: Spartan Stadium

2023 Schedule:
8/18    vs. Meadowcreek
8/25    @ Lovett
9/01    @ Pace Academy
9/08    vs. Decatur
9/22    vs. Northview
9/29    @ Cambridge
10/13  @ Northsprings
10/20  @ Kell
10/27  vs. Chattahoochee
11/03  vs. Centennial

After moving up to 5A last season, Greater Atlanta Christian made the postseason in an impressive region that included Kell, Cambridge, and Centennial. Under head coach Tim Hardy, the Spartans have made the playoffs every season since he took over in 2012. Their remarkable consistency is reflected in their sustained success and the team’s commitment to excellence and ability to perform under pressure. Hardy has five semifinal finishes in his GAC career.

GAC returns nine of their all-region players from last season including quarterback Jack Stanton who was second-team all-region. Stanton threw for 20 touchdowns to only four interceptions while completing 60% of his passes. GAC will also return their two leading receivers Xavier Daisy and Braylen Burgess who made up 50% of the offensive production. Both players had five or more touchdowns and made all-region teams last season.

On the defensive side of the ball, rising senior Harrison Voelzke will return. He led the team in tackles last season and three interceptions. One standout player to watch out for in the upcoming season is GAC’s impressive sophomore linebacker. Reid Voyles was tied for the team lead in tackles and sacks last season and was selected for the all-region team as a freshman.

Another player to watch for will be rising junior Gabe Williams. He will be another critical piece on offense for the Spartans and is a dynamic playmaker with the ball in his hands.

The Spartans are looking to win their first region title since 2020 when they finished 12-1 and made the semifinals. 

Holy Innocents’ (Photo by Debbie Reams)

Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School 

Head Coach: Todd Winter
Head Coach Record: 82-43
2022 Record: 9-4
2022 Region Record: 4-1
2023 Region: 6-AAAA
Stadium Name: Hoskyn Stadium

2023 Schedule:
8/18    @ Pace Academy
8/25    vs. Riverwood
9/01    @ Seckinger
9/08    vs. Lake Highland Prep
9/15    vs. Douglass-Atlanta
9/29    vs. Westminster
10/06  @ Miller Grove
10/13  vs. Southwest Dekalb
10/26  @ Stephenson
11/03  @ Hapeville

Holy Innocents’ had their fourth consecutive winning season and went 9-4 last season. Led by head coach Todd Winter, he has consistently shown the ability to guide and inspire young men and be an excellent coach for the Bears. This resulted in him winning region six coach of the year. The Bears won six consecutive games last season and outscored their opponents by 19 points during the streak before falling in the quarterfinals to Troup County.

Offensively, the Golden Bears were exemplary, averaging 27 points per game led by William Wright who made all-region last season. Wright will not return after graduating in May. Wide receiver Zack Jackson will return after an all-region selection last season leading the Bears in receiving. Jackson is a dynamic player with the ball in his hands and was a main reason behind the Bears potent offensive attack last season.

Holy Innocents’ boasts an exceptional talent in Jacobi Murray, who won Player of the Year. Murray’s sheer force and dominance on the defensive line make him a formidable presence on the field.

A position to watch next season is the offensive line for the Holy Innocence’ Bears. It is pertinent to acknowledge that the team will face the challenge of replacing four all-region linemen. This will undoubtedly test their ability to adapt and maintain their winning momentum.

However, with the exceptional talent and resilience displayed by the Bears in the past, there is no doubt that they will rise to the occasion.

Marist School 

Head Coach: Alan Chadwick 
Head Coach Record: 419-78
2022 Record: 10-3
2022 Region Record: 5-0
2023 Region: 4-6A
Stadium Name: Hughes-Spalding Stadium

2023 Schedule: 
8/18     @ Gainesville 
8/25     vs. Pike Rd, AL 
9/01     vs. Savannah Christian 
9/08     vs. Woodward Academy 
9/15     @ Blessed Trinity 
9/29     @ Dunwoody 
10/13   @ South Cobb 
10/19   @ North Atlanta 
10/27   vs. St. Pius X 
11/03   vs. Riverwood 

Legendary Marist head coach Alan Chadwick returns for his 39th season for the War Eagles. Coach Chadwick has led the War Eagles to six consecutive 10-win seasons and has never had a losing season in his coaching career. The past three seasons Marist has remained undefeated in region play winning three region championships during that time. Coach Chadwick has also won three state championships and 21 region championships in his illustrious coaching career.

The War Eagles fell short in the quarterfinals against Rome in a low-scoring and highly contested game. Before the loss, Marist had been on an eight-game winning streak and averaging 36.3 points per game on offense. One of the memorable moments from last season came when Marist won a triple overtime thriller 30-27 against St. Pius X that determined the region champion.

Marist will return highly rated athlete Luke Harpring who is a three-star player and committed to play at Georgia Tech. Harpring recorded 70 tackles and 14 sacks as a junior while playing defensive end, linebacker, and receiver for the Eagles.

All-Region running back Joseph Pizzo will also return. He led the team in rushing last season. Another player to watch will be Casey Comerford who was named to the all-region defensive team for his exemplary play in the secondary. Marist boasts a lot of talent this upcoming season and will look to win their fourth consecutive region title.

The War Eagles will also have championship aspirations and look to hoist another state title. Marist last won in 2020.

Mt. Vernon (Photo by Betsy Armstrong)

Mt. Vernon School

Head Coach: Wayne Dabbs 
Head Coach Record: 47-42
2022 Record: 4-7 
2022 Region Record: 0-3
2023 Region: Region 6-A Division I
Stadium Name: Glenn Campus Football Field

2023 Schedule: 
8/18     vs. Wesleyan 
8/25     @ George Walton 
9/01     vs. Mt. Paran Christian 
9/15     @ Tattnall Square Academy 
9/22     @ Athens Academy 
9/29     vs. Elbert County 
10/06   @ Mt. Zion, Carrol 
10/20   vs. Mt. Pisgah Christian 
10/27   @ Whitefield Academy 
11/03    @ St. Francis 

 Mount Vernon will kick off the program’s 18th GHSA football season with a streak of seven-straight playoff berths. The Mustangs’ former region in 2020-21 housed Hebron Christian, Providence Christian, Holy Innocents’ and Wesleyan and the reclassification saw all four opponents jump to higher classifications. As a result, Mount Vernon entered a brand new four-team region last season with Mt. Pisgah, Whitefield Academy and St. Francis and was able to earn a playoff berth, despite being swept in region play. Whitefield Academy and St. Francis were top 10 teams and the Mustangs ultimately fell to state champion Prince Avenue Christian 47-14 in the first round.

Mount Vernon’s 4-7 record last season suggests that the Mustangs took a step back last season, but the team was still able to chalk up massive wins over Mt. Paran (49-45), Tattnall Square (35-34), Mt. Zion-Carroll (27-14) and Harvester Christian (37-6).

Offensively, Mount Paran returns quarterback Sam Nazarian after he racked up 2,233 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and six rushing scores to fuel an offensive that produced 25.3 ppg. Nazarian was named Second-Team All-Region after his junior campaign.

Defensively, the Mustangs will look to tighten up the points allowed after seeing the production go from 17 points allowed per game in 2022 to 36.2 last season. Class of 2024 wide receiver Jonathan Gallinaro is also returning after hauling in a team-high 45 receptions for 804 yards and 10 touchdowns and earning First-Team All-Region honors.

Noah Arnold, Nathan Webb and Chase Perry are also returning playmakers that were named Second-Team All-Region.  

North Springs (Photo by David King)

North Springs High School

Head Coach: Robert Braucht
Head Coach Record: 20-35
2022 Record: 4-6
2022 Region Record: 1-5
2023 Region: Region 6-AAAAA
Stadium Name: Thermopylae Stadium 

2023 Schedule: 
8/18    @ Dunwoody
9/01    @ Riverwood
9/08     vs. M.L. King
9/15     @ Midtown
9/29     @ Northview
10/06   @ Chattahoochee
10/13   vs. Greater Atlanta Christian
10/20   @ Centennial
10/26    vs. Kell
11/03    vs. Cambridge

North Springs is coming off a solid 4-6 season and will have the program’s sixth head coach in the past decade with Robert Braucht. Last year, the Spartans got off to a 4-1 start before falling in their final five games to close out a 4-6 campaign.

Jeff Phillips departed following the season and North Springs brought in former Jones County defensive coordinator Robert Braucht. Phillips came to North Springs after coaching in Tennessee, where he achieved a 61-38 record over nine seasons. Before Jones County, Braucht served as an assistant at Ware County.

The Spartans will look to continue building momentum after a rough 1-9 finish in 2021 and a 2020 campaign that saw North Springs close out an 0-8 season with only 60 points scored. North Springs competes in a very talented Region 6 and will look to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2017 when first-year head coach Scotty Parker led a 6-5 record. North Springs has made the playoffs just two times since 1998, when the program capped an 8-5 season and quarterfinal run. North Springs has been competing since 1964 and won a state title in 1969 with a 12-0-1 season.

This year’s team will feature senior wide receiver Leelyn Beachem and tight end Christopher Johnson. Defensively, John Wilson Murray is a 6-foot-2, 185-pound Class of 2023 prospect that has fulfilled the strong safety and outside linebacker role. Additionally, Zion Solomon is a physical 6-foot, 210-pound two-way playmaker at running back and linebacker.

North Atlanta High School

Head Coach: Jamie Aull
Head Coach Record: 38-44
2022 Record: 8-4
2022 Region Record: 3-2
2023 Region: Region 4-AAAAAA
Stadium Name: Eddie S. Henderson Stadium

2023 Schedule: 
8/16    @ Johns Creek 
8/26    vs. Drew Charter School
9/01    vs. New Manchester
9/08    @ River Ridge 
9/15     vs. Wheeler
9/29     @ St. Pius X
10/06   @ Riverwood
10/19   vs. Marist
10/27   vs. South Cobb
11/03    vs. Dunwoody

North Atlanta (Photo by Dave Quick)

North Atlanta achieved a school-record 8-4 record in 2022 and won the program’s first-ever playoff game in a 30-17 victory over Lovejoy.

The season started off with a massive 31-27 win over Class 6A powerhouse North Forsyth in the Corky Kell Classic and the Warriors followed it up with a 50-6 win over Drew, a 35-0 win over New Manchester and a 27-13 victory over River Ridge to improve to 4-0. The Warriors stumbled in a 20-13 loss to Wheeler in the final non-region game and then dropped competitive games to St. Pius and Marist in region play to earn the No. 3 seed. After the historic playoff win over Lovejoy, North Atlanta fell 41-31 in a road loss to No. 1 seed Houston County.

North Atlanta returns junior quarterback Ian Reynolds, who split time with Class of 2023 quarterback Tre Lennon. Reynolds finished the season with 24-of-37 passing for 244 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions. Xaden Benson returns for his senior year and is a key contributor in the secondary and passing game. Connor Hughes is back as the team’s leading tackler and also tallied a team-high three interceptions last season. Dalyn Caldwell and rising junior Chase Linton are also returning starters on the defensive side of the ball. Caldwell is a middle linebacker that also can take snaps at full back and Linton is a 6-foot-4, 210-pound defensive end that is gaining recruiting attention heading into his junior season.

Pace Academy 

Head Coach: Nick Bach
Head Coach Record: 28-16
2022 Record: 8-3
2022 Region Record: 5-2
2023 Region: Region 5-AAAA
Stadium Name: Walsh Field 

2023 Schedule
8/18     vs. Holy Innocents’
8/25     vs. Westminster
9/01     vs. Greater Atlanta Christian 
9/08     @ Lovett
9/14     vs. Woodland-Stockbridge 
9/29     @ Hampton
10/06   @ McDonough
10/20   vs. Luella
10/27   @ Stockbridge
11/03    vs. Mt. Zion-Jonesboro

Pace Academy improved on its 6-5 season in 2021, but after a strong 8-2 regular season record were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for the seventh-straight season.

Before this streak of first round exits, Pace Academy advanced to the Class 2A state finals and capped a 13-2 record with a 42-21 win over Fitzgerald to clinch its first-ever state title. Breaking this postseason slump will be the primary goal for the Knights this season and they will have a great opportunity to do so.

Pace Academy opened last season with three-straight rivaly victories that include a 20-17 win over Holy Innocents’, a 21-19 win over Westminster and a 31-0 shutout over Pace Academy. A 30-20 loss to Lovett to open region play was followed up with four-straight wins before the Knights dropped a 40-20 loss to region champion Stockbridge. The Knights closed out the year with a 42-7 win over Mt. Zion-Jonesboro and then dropped a heartbreaking 40-38 road playoff loss to Stephenson.

Hevin Brown-Shuler was a force on the Knights’ defensive line and earned First-Team All-Classification honors. Additionally, wide receiver Terrence Kiel closed out a First-Team All-State junior season and will also be returning. Brown Shuler, who is the No. 28 rated senior prospect in the state of Georgia heading into the season is a 6-foot-4, 290 pounds and committed to Clemson. Kiel is currently uncommitted with offers from Texas A&M, Boston College and Cincinnati among his considerations. Four-star linebacker Jordan Burns is a Tennessee-commit and the No. 45 rated senior prospect in the state.  

Riverwood International School

Head Coach: Michael Young
Head Coach Record: 2-9
2022 Record: 2-9
2022 Region Record: 2-3
2023 Region: Region 4-AAAAAA
Stadium Name: Hoskyn Stadium

2023 Schedule:
8/18    @ Alexander
8/25    @ Holy Innocents’
9/01    vs. North Springs 
9/15    vs. Chamblee
9/22    @ Westminster
9/29    @ South Cobb
10/06  vs. North Atlanta
10/20  vs. St. Pius X 
10/26   @ Dunwoody
11/03   @ Marist

Head coach Michael Young is entering his second season leading Riverwood and looking to improve on last year’s 2-9 finish. Young, who took his first-ever head coaching job last season, helped lead Riverwood to the program’s sixth playoff appearance for a team that’s been playing football since 1971.

Prior to Young’s arrival, Robert Edwards coached the Raiders from 2018-2021 and led Riverwood to the second round in 2019, just the team’s second journey past the first round after a second round exit in 2001 under head coach Dennis Goss.

Riverwood International: Photo by James Davis

The Raiders went 2-3 in Region 4-6A and lost to Woodward Academy in the first round of the playoffs 41-13. Riverwood faced a difficult region schedule but secured victories over South Cobb 48-20 and Dunwoody 40-33 last season but struggled against North Atlanta, St. Pius X and Marist. Last season, Riverwood featured a balanced offensive attack averaging 112 passing yards to 113 rushing yards per game.

Senior quarterback Jackson Davis was 142-of-244 passing for 1,6664 yards and 10 touchdowns in his junior season. In the playoff loss to Woodward, Davis was 14-of-26 for 137 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, Walter Evans, the team’s leading rusher last season, was lost to graduation but Davis (4 rushing TDs) and KJ McCrae (2) will factor. Riverwood lost its leading receiver from last season, Levi Linowes (6 TD receptions), but sophomore Zach Stair and seniors Evan Joyce and McCrae will have an impact. 

St. Pius X (Photo by Art of Life Photography)

St. Pius X 

Head Coach: Chad Garrison
Head Coach Record: 15-9
2022 Record: 6-6
2022 Region Record: 4-1
2023 Region: Region 4-AAAAAA
Stadium Name: George B. Maloof Stadium

2023 Schedule:
8/18    @ Dacula
8/25    vs. Flowery Branch
9/01    vs. Jefferson
9/08    vs. Blessed Trinity 
9/15    @ Parkview
9/29    vs. North Atlanta 
10/13  @ Dunwoody
10/20  @ Riverwood
10/27  @ Marist 
11/03   vs South Cobb

Head coach Chad Garrison took his first-ever head coaching job when he joined the staff at St. Pius X in 2021 and since, he’s led the Golden Lions to the playoffs each season and looks to continue the streak.

The Golden Lions went 9-3 in Garrison’s first season (2021) as head coach and captured a region title after going undefeated 6-0 through Region 5-5A. Pius defeated Cass 42-9 in the opening round of the 2021 Class 5A playoffs before losing to Creekside 41-34 in the second round. Last season, the Golden Lions moved up to Class 6A and felt the pressure of a higher class, finishing 6-6 and 4-1 through Region 4-6A. The Golden Lions defeated North Atlanta, Dunwoody, Riverwood and South Cobb but lost to Marist 30-27 to finish No. 2 in the region. St. Pius X beat Mundy’s Mill 27-21 in the opening round of the playoffs before losing to Thomas County Central 49-14.

St. Pius X favored the run last season and averaged 180 rushing yards to 36 passing yards per game but will have to replace some big pieces of the ground puzzle after graduating its three leading rushers – Jack Tchienchou, Kevin Beirne and Liam Whitlark. Returning talent includes senior Patrick Muir returns and had 43 carries for 223 yards and three touchdowns last season while junior Colin Crosby rushed 19 times for 80 yards and two touchdowns. Senior quarterback Jack Mount was 15-of-24 passing for 264 yards and a touchdown last season while rushing for 100 yards.

The Lovett School

Head Coach: Mike Muschamp
Head Coach Record: 181-101
2022 Record: 7-5
2022 Region Record: 6-1
2023 Region: 5-AAAA
Stadium Name: Kilpatrick Stadium

2023 Schedule: 
8/18      @ Westminster
8/25      vs. Greater Atlanta Christian 
9/08      vs. Pace Academy 
9/15      @ McDonough
9/22      @ Fellowship Christian
9/29      vs. Luella
10/06    @ Stockbridge
10/20     vs. Mt. Zion 
10/27     vs. Hampton
11/03     @ Woodland-Stockbridge

Two years ago, Lovett was competing in Class 2A, finished 8-4 and exited in the second round of the playoffs. After the reclassification cycle, the Lions moved up two classes to Class 4A and finished 7-5 but faced another second-round exit.

The program has been to the playoffs every season since 2002 and since 2005, head coach Mike Muschamp has been at the helm. The brother of college coach Will Muschamp, Mike has led Lovett to a state title – 2013 in Class 2A – and played for two state championships but lost in 2007. Prior to taking the Lovett job, Muschamp coached at Savannah Country Day from 2000-2004 and has amassed a 181-101 record in 24 seasons with three region titles and a state championship.

However, it’s been since 2014 that Muschamp has led the Lions past the second round, when the team lost in the quarterfinals. Last season, Lovett went 6-1 through Region 5-4A with victories over Pace Academy, McDonough, Luella and Mount Zion-Jonesboro and a loss to Stockbridge. In the playoffs, Lovett beat local rival Westminster 13-6 in the first round before losing to North Oconee 35-9. The victory over Westminster avenged a 14-0 loss to the Wildcats in the first game of the season.

Quarterback Preston Lusink, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior, returns to lead the offense in front of back Kalil Townes. Luke Wallace is a 6-1, 155-pound senior who will help anchor the receiver’s stall alongside senior Dylan Mayers.

Wesleyan (Photo by Brian Morgan)

Wesleyan School

Head Coach: Frank Pridgen 
Head Coach Record: 135-70
2022 Record: 4-7
2022 Region Record: 3-3
2023 Region: 7-AAA
Stadium Name: Henderson Stadium

2023 Schedule:
8/18     @ Mount Vernon
8/25     @ Decatur 
9/01     vs. North Cobb Christian 
9/08     vs. Whitefield Academy 
9/22     vs. Gilmer
9/29     @ Lumpkin County 
10/06   vs. White County
10/13   @ Dawson County 
10/27   @ West Hall
11/03   vs. Pickens

Frank Pridgen took over the Wesleyan football program in 2006 and it took just two seasons to lead the Wolves to the program’s only state championship in 2008. Since 2011, when the Wolves finished 7-3 overall and 5-1 but missed the playoffs, Wesleyan has appeared in the postseason each year.

After the recent reclassification cycle, Wesleyan went from Class A Private to Class 3A, where it’s entering its second season in a higher class. Pridgen coached the Wolves to the Class A Private state championship game in 2019 and then the semifinals in the following season. However, the Wolves have had a second round and first round exit in the past two seasons, respectively.

Last season, Wesleyan finished 4-7 overall and 3-3 in Region 7-3A and lost to Stephens County 51-14 in the opening round of the 3A playoffs. The team favored the pass last season, averaging 212 passing to 669 rushing yards per game.

Ben Brown returns after a sophomore season where he was 173-of-291 passing for 2,123 yards and 25 touchdowns. He rushed 58 times for 117 yards and one touchdown. Also returning is the team’s leading receiver from last season – Jamie Tremble – who made 55 receptions for 890 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior. Receiver Shepard Jones made 21 catches for 234 yards and three touchdowns as a junior last year. On the ground, Townes Hardy led the team with 33 carries for 178 yards and two touchdowns as a junior.

The Westminster Schools

Head Coach: Gerry Romberg
Head Coach Record: 226-136
2022 Record: 6-5
2022 Region Record: 3-2
2023 Region: 6-AAAA
Stadium Name: Thompson Stadium

2023 Schedule:
8/18   vs. Lovett
8/25   @ Pace Academy 
9/01   vs. Benedictine 
9/15   @ Centennial 
9/22   vs. Riverwood
9/29   @ Holy Innocents 
10/06  vs. Stephenson
10/12  @ Hapeville
10/26  @ Southwest Dekalb 
11/02  vs. Miller Grove

Westminster began last season with a 14-0 victory over local-rival Lovett but was left with a sour taste after losing to Lovett in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs 13-6.

But if there’s one thing about Westminster – and the program’s longtime head coach Gerry Romberg – its that they are resilient. Romberg has been at Westminster since 1992 – that’s 32 seasons – and has amassed a 226-136 record. He’s led the Wildcats to one state championship victory in Class 2A in 2015 and captured seven region titles, but not since 2016. Westminster spent 2016-2021 in Class 3A before climbing one class last season, due to the reclassification cycle. In its first year in Class 4A, the Wildcats finished 6-5 and 3-2 in Region 6-4A while outscoring opponents 189-160.

Returning for Westminster is senior defensive back/wide receiver Armstrong Jones, who has offers from Georgetown, Colgate, Toledo, The Citadel, Lehigh and Appalachian State. Jones is 6-foot-1 and 170 pounder who can interrupt both the pass and the run. Also returning is senior Jett Hartley, a 6-foot, 180-pound strong safety who will help anchor the defensive backfield for the Wildcats alongside Jones. The one-two defensive punch should cause fits for quarterbacks and receivers.

Known for its string of excellent punters/kickers – including former Georgia Tech great and two-time Super Bowl winner Harrison Butker – Westminster returns Carson Wilkie, who made 53 punts last season and averaged 40 yards with 25 punts being downs inside the 20-yard line. 

Woodward Academy 

Head Coach: John Hunt
Head Coach Record: 119-33
2022 Record: 11-2
2022 Region Record: 7-0
2023 Region: 3-AAAAAA
Stadium Name: Colquitt Stadium

2023 Schedule:
8/18   vs. Trinity Christian
8/25   @ McCallie
9/08   @ Marist 
9/15   @ Marrow
9/22   vs. Alcovy
9/29   vs. Lovejoy
10/13  @ Rockdale County
10/20  @ Jonesboro
10/27  vs. Mundy’s Mill
11/03  vs. Forest Park

If there’s one person who wants to cap a season with a state championship, it’s probably Woodward head coach John Hunt. He’s led the War Eagles since 2011 and won seven region titles but has not found a way to extend the season to a state championship game. He’s led Woodward to the semifinals three times – 2014, 2015 and 2019 – and the quarterfinals in 2016, 2017 and last season. Woodward – in some form or fashion – has been playing football since 1902 and won state championships in 1970 and 1980 under head coach Graham Hixon.

Last season, Woodward went undefeated through Region 3-6A and beat Riverwood and Lee County in the first two rounds of the playoffs but lost to Hughes 56-28 in the quarterfinals. The War Eagles favored the pass last season and averaged 200 passing to 107 rushing yards per game and return large pieces of the offensive puzzle despite losing quarterback Jalen Woods to graduation. Senior Griffin Marshall was 22-of-37 passing for 378 yards and five touchdowns last season and returns.

On the ground, Lucas Farrington had 126 carries for 668 yards and eight touchdowns last season as a sophomore and Myles Graham had 86 carries for 465 yards and six touchdowns as a junior and had 13 receptions for 150 yards and three touchdowns. Ben Grice will anchor the receivers and had 50 catches for 910 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior. Josiah Abdullah made 35 catches for 536 yards and eight touchdowns as a sophomore and returns

Midtown High School

Head Coach: Darrell Howard
Head Coach Record: 6-4
2022 Record: 6-4
2022 Region Record: 0-0
2023 Region: 5-5A
Stadium Name: Eddie S. Henderson Stadium

2023 Schedule:
8/18 @ Mt. Paran Christian
8/24 vs. B.E.S.T Academy
8/31 @ Northview
9/08 @ Johns Creek
9/15 vs.North Springs
9/29 @ Temple
10/05 @ Druid Hills
10/20 vs. Clarkston
10/27 @ Stone Mountain
11/03 vs. Johnson, Gainesville

Midtown High (Photo by Yearbook Staff)

The Midtown Grey Knights returned to the field in 2022 and were able to reestablish their footing and get the program turned around in a promising direction. Low participation numbers and several seasons of disappointing results, left one of the most historic programs in the state’s proud gridiron history in dire straits.

After a 1-9 finish in 2020, Midtown opened the 2021 season with a sparse roster and forfeited the rest of their season after a 67-0 loss to Fayette County and too few players to continue the season. Darrell Howard was hired ahead of the 2022 season and the school chose to compete in a full 10-game schedule without a region.

The first year was a tremendous success as the team closed out a 6-4 campaign in his first-ever season as head coach. The 2023 slate will be the final season before Midtown returns to region action and the roster is deep and filled with returning contributors and rising stars in the junior and sophomore class that will ultimately be the group that revitalized the Midtown program.

Rising sophomore Traevan TJ Jones is a 5-foot-7, 150-pound prospect that will give coach Howard a playmaker that can fulfill running back, wide receiver and defensive back duties. Sidney Rogers is returning after a great 2022 season as a wide receiver and defensive back and will have senior quarterback Ezekiel Teffere back to lead the attack. Rogers has elite speed and is a primary weapon with 6-foot-1, 210-pound athlete Cordell Hegg.

Maynard Jackson High School

Head Coach: Eric Williams
Head Coach Record: 89-109
2022 Record: 7-4
2022 Region Record: 5-2
2023 Region: 5-5A
Stadium Name: Eddie S. Henderson Stadium

2023 Schedule:
8/18 vs. Arabia Mountain
8/25 vs. Miller Grove
9/08 @ Lithonia
9/15 vs. Banneker
9/22 vs. Lithia Springs
9/29 vs. Chapel Hill
10/06 @ Mays
10/13 @ Creekside
10/27 vs. Villa Rica
11/03 @ Tri-Cities

Maynard Jackson head coach Eric Williams is entering his 20th season at the helm since first arriving in 2004 and is coming off an outstanding 7-4 finish.

The Jaguars’ closed out a school-record 9-3 season in 2017 and earned the program’s first-ever playoff win in a 14-0 victory over Miller Grove. Last year’s 7-4 finish concluded with a tough 27-20 loss to No. 1 seed Cambridge on the road, but showcased the consistency and competiveness that coach Williams has established during his tenure. In fact, Maynard Jackson found itself in a three-way tie in the region standings at 5-2, but ultimately the No. 2 seed went to Mays and Lithia Springs took the No. 3 seed behind region champion Creekside.

The Jaguars will need to replace First-Team All-State defensive back Karleon Bell—a 6-foot-2, 205-pound safety that signed to play at the University of West Georgia. Bell was also the leading rusher last season. Offensively, rising junior Ricky Dorn III is one of the most explosive wide receivers in the Class of 2025 and is an imposing 6-foot-3, 185 pounds. The highlight of Dorn’s breakout sophomore season was his 95-yard, two-touchdown performance in the Jaguars’ 35-13 win over Mays. Dorn hauled in a 67-yard touchdown in that victory and also hauled in a 76-yard touchdown reception in the season opener against Arabia Mountain. Defensively, Messiah Scandrett returns to lead the linebacker corps and came up huge with two TFL in last year’s 7-6 win over Chapel Hill.

Druid Hills High School

Head Coach: Frederick Greene
Head Coach Record: 7-20
2022 Record: 4-6
2022 Region Record: 0-0
2023 Region: 6-4A
Stadium Name: Adams Memorial Stadium

2023 Schedule:
8/17 vs. KIPP Atlanta Collegiate
8/25 vs. McNair
9/01 vs. Berkmar
9/08 vs. Dunwoody
9/22 @ Southeast Whitfield
10/05 vs. Midtown
10/12 @ Clarkston
10/20 vs. Johnson, Gainesville
10/27 vs.Lakeside, DeKalb
11/03 @ Stone Mountain

Druid Hills experienced a massive leap forward in 2022 in head coach Frederick Greene’s second season at the helm—bouncing back from an 0-10 2021 season and tallying four wins for the first time since 2016.

The key for the Red Devils will be replacing the offensive production of Jacquez Cullars at quarterback. Cullars passed for 1,108 yards and 10 touchdowns last season with six interceptions and also finished the season as the leading rusher with 629 yards and a team-high 13 touchdown runs. Jaden George will be back for his senior year after taking 95 carries for 459 yards and three touchdowns. Additionally, junior Bre’Lon Cade is back after a breakout sophomore season that saw him rack up a team-high 32 catches for 463 yards and six touchdowns. Cade had five receptions and 112 yards against Midtown and another five-reception, 90-yard outing against McNair with touchdowns in both contests.

Defensively, Druid Hills produced 12 fumble recoveries and six interceptions last season Reese Patterson (79 tackles) and Zack Manning (51) are back in the secondary after leading the team in total tackles last year. Rising sophomore Xavier Norris is another promising underclassmen and racked up 35 tackles and 1.5 sacks last season at defensive end. 

The Red Devils will once again take on a 10-game non-region schedule and will open up against McNair after taking that contest 21-20 last season. Additionally, Druid Hills had three one-score losses last season and will be looking to achieve their first winning record since 1993’s 6-4 finish.

Decatur High (Photo by Keson Graham)

Decatur High School

Head Coach: William Felton
Head Coach Record: 22-10
2022 Record: 7-5
2022 Region Record: 5-0
2023 Region: 4-AAAAA
Stadium Name: Decatur High School Stadium

2023 Schedule:
8/18 @ Flowery Branch
8/25 vs. Wesleyan
9/01 vs. Southwest Dekalb
9/08 @ Greater Atlanta Christian
9/15 @ South Gwinnett
9/29 @ Tucker
10/06 vs. Arabia Mountain
10/20 vs. Lithonia
10/27 vs. Chamblee
11/02 @ M. L. King

Head coach William Felton took over the Decatur program in 2020 and has led the Bulldogs to a winning season – and the playoffs – each year after taking over following Cody Cory’s departure. Cory led the Bulldogs to the playoffs in 2019, marking the team’s first postseason appearance since 2005.

Viewed through the scope of history, Decatur has been playing football since 1914 and won back-to-back state championships in 1949 and 1950 under head coach Charles Waller, marking the team’s only state championships. Decatur has won 24 region titles in program history and has a 553-458-33 overall record through 1,044 games played.

Last season, Decatur averaged 259 passing to 127 rushing yards per game on the way to a region title – its first since 2004. The Bulldogs went 5-0 through Region 4-5A and defeated Harris County 33-20 in the first round of the playoffs before losing to Coffee 51-23.

Decatur will have to replace the performance of quarterback Harrison Hannah (2,952 yards, 27 touchdown passes, 5 rushing TDs) who was lost to graduation. Senior Tristan Strickland and junior Ramah Elmahdi each passed for one touchdown last season. On the ground, Strickland and Malachi Miller each rushed for two touchdowns last season and could factor. The Bulldogs also must weather the loss of its leading receiver – Kenric Lanier – who made 64 receptions for 1,156 yards and 12 touchdowns. But, Miller also factors as a wideout and caught 13 passes for 335 yards and seven touchdowns last season.

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