Expect 4-AAAAA football schools to have their share of exceptional talent

By TOMMY CAMP tommy@newnan.com The Newnan Cougars and East Coweta Indians have their share of outstanding players returning from last year's teams, but they don't have a corner on the market when it comes to talent in Region 4-AAAAA. The region's coaches talked about it at their preseason meeting with the media Thursday at the Orchard Hills Golf Club.
The Creekside Seminoles, picked by the coaches and members of the media as having the best chance of dethroning Newnan as region champs, have nine returning starters on offense and seven on defense. The most impressive of the lot is Zack Amey, a first-team all-region selection last year on both sides of the ball as a junior. He was the Seminoles' leading rusher and leading tackler in 2008. "He's a good one," said Creekside coach Johnny White. "He led our team with 136 tackles at linebacker and he intercepted three passes, returning two of them for touchdowns. "He also gained over 900 yards on something like 100 carries. "We'll go as far as he can take us this year." Amey isn't the only weapon in the Seminoles' arsenal however. Octavious Morgan, another linebacker, had 112 tackles last year and defensive lineman Justin Sharp was credited with 12 sacks. "We have our entire front seven coming back on defense," White said. "We have a chance to be pretty good." Lovejoy, despite its 3-7 record last year, has arguably the best pure athlete in the region returning for the '09 campaign in wide receiver D.J. Smith. "He won the national high school high jump championship this summer," said coach Al Hughes. "And he finished fourth in the world in the Junior Olympics. "Maybe we can figure out how to use that ability in football. Maybe if we just throw the ball up he can out jump everybody and catch it." Westlake returns a number of outstanding players including defensive back Darius Robinson, offensive lineman Tony Jacobs who stands 6-feet-8-inches tall and weighs in at 310 pounds, leading rusher Ricky Buckles and linebacker Michael Taylor. Chapel Hill's best player is Trent White who will be used at both wide receiver and running back. "We just have to figure out how to get him the ball as much as possible," said coach Chris Parker. Panther defensive back Dantavious Jeffery, who has committed to Troy State, is another good one. Mundy's Mill linebacker Amore Jones was a top-flight player last year as a junior and quarterback Eric McClure figures to be much better with a year's experience under his belt. Running back Aaron Appleby heads the list of Pebblebrook's returning stars as quarterback Quintavious Martin does for Riverdale. Newnan has its marquee players in Alec and Zander Ogletree and Adam Strakose, but coach Mike McDonald feels that offensive lineman Chris Beno, running back Chris Robinson and wide receiver Lendell Arnold are stars waiting in the wings. East Coweta returns Tay Willis, arguably the most dangerous breakaway threat in the region and experienced quarterback Austin Ingram from last year, but coach Clint Wade thinks that linebackers Zack Fore and Angel Santiago, defensive tackle Cameron Smiley and offensive lineman Corey Hamlett can be outstanding players as well. Local fans will begin finding out just how good they all are in less than a month.

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