After winning the East Division title with a perfect 4-0 record, Holy Spirit triumphed in the league championship game with a hard-fought 28-21 victory over Christian Heritage Nov. 11.
“I expect that by the time we get to midseason, we won’t be talking about a young team,” Taylor said. “We’ll be talking about some veterans who keep this group together. I still have my eyes set on the GFC championship.”
George Maranville, Andy Moots, Ryan Casey and Todd Jones were among the major contributors to the momentous season who graduated. Jim Falcetti, who coached Holy Spirit the last two years, moved over to Westminster, where he will teach and mentor the defensive line.
“We’ll do the best that we can to ride that wave for as long as possible,” Taylor said. “It’s going to stand on its own because that team was so heavy with seniors and they had leadership that this team is going to have to build upon. We’ve got some juniors and some sophomores that have a lot of playing experience. We’ve got some eager freshmen who are going to be major contributors.”
Offensively, quarterback Sean O’Connell will take the reins from Maranville, and Taylor expects him to be one of the leaders of the team.
Sam Grisham is also expected to be a force in the trenches, on both sides of the ball.
“[He] is another big power for us on the offensive and defensive lines,” Taylor said. “He is experienced and he’s our largest player by far. He’s put in some hard work. He will be influential in our success.”
Holy Spirit will likely have less than 20 players on its varsity roster once the season begins.
“Our numbers are such this year that just about everybody is going to have positions on each side of the ball, depending on what our needs are,” Taylor said.
The Cougars will use a basic pro-style offense with elements of the spread thrown in where appropriate.
Holy Spirit flipped to the West Division for this season, while Augusta Prep, Anderson, East Atlanta and the Georgia Force remained in the East. The Cougars will still play opponents familiar to them from last year in division games, including Freedom Academy, Home School Depot and North Georgia, all of whom Holy Spirit beat in 2011.
Aug. 31 East Atlanta
Sept. 7 at Grace Baptist*
Sept. 14 at Freedom Academy*
Sept. 21 Dominion Christian
Sept. 28 at Home School Depot*
Oct. 5 at Force
Oct. 12 North Atlanta*
Oct. 19 North Georgia*
*denotes region game