High School Football/Spring Practice
Trinity looking to build off consecutive playoff years
by Chris Goltermann
Even at a larger GISA school like Trinity Christian, it’s not always a bad thing when your football players are unable to attend all 10 days of spring practice.
A host of Lions were unavailable due to the successes of track and baseball seasons. Trinity’s track team placed third in Region 1-AAA while the baseball program earned its first trip to the GISA state playoffs after finishing fourth in the region with its best record in school history.
Head football coach Chris Hanson, who most recently was named Trinity’s new athletic director, was still able to get a head start on the fall.
The Lions are coming off back-to-back trips to the GISA state playoffs.
“We didn’t have a whole squad the entire time because of baseball, but we were able to focus on fundamentals,” Hanson said. “The kids we spent some time on installation.”
Besides the roster, which loses 10 seniors to graduation, all of whom played key roles in a state playoff season in 2013, Trinity will have a new offensive coordinator this fall in Bruce Sills. The one-time Georgia Bulldog offensive lineman coached with Lions middle school programs, both of which won championships last fall.
On offense, the Lions will have to replace their leading passer, Daniel Shoates (1,276 yards, 12 TDs) as well as one of their top players at both running back and receiver. J.D. Farlow, who signed with Reinhardt, finished with 4.7 yards per carry in an injury-plagued season where he still managed five touchdowns.
Trinity’s top receiver, Glen Whisby, also graduates after signing with Faulkner following a year that included 34 catches for 412 yards and five touchdowns. He’ll be reunited with Lion receivers coach Kelby Holt, who joins Faulkner’s staff next season.
At tight end, Joe Hogan also had 11 catches for 241 yards while fellow senior Conner Owen had 249 yards rushing and 126 receiving while accounting for four touchdowns as a fullback.
“It’ll be a bit of a rebuilding year,” Hanson said. “We’ll do some 7-on-7 stuff in the summer. Right now we’re trying to get stronger. We’ll be working on our conditioning in addition to passing camps.”
Defensive coordinator J.P. Weaver may be in a bit better shape heading into the fall. All three of Lions top tacklers were juniors. Weaver will also fill in on offense coaching receivers and Mark Bryan returns to coach the defensive line.
Hanson will be in charge of quarterbacks, running backs and the secondary.
Both Trinity and The Heritage School also head into a new 1-AAA alignment next fall with six new region opponents in football — Bethlehem Christian, Dominion Christian, Griffin Christian, Holy Spirit, Loganville Christian and Young Americans.
Trinity has played Dominion and Griffin Christian in non-region play over the last three seasons.
The Lions will also continue to play Flint River, out of Region 1-AA, as a non-region opponent.