“We’ve had a good summer and the number of kids participating in our workouts is up from last year,” said fourth-year head coach Scott Hamilton. “Having more kids here is a good indication that our program is growing and part of its maturation.”
Hamilton noted that the rebuilding of the Patriots’ program is a continual process. “It takes a while for any staff to establish everything that it wants to do within a program and things are now becoming normal for us,” he said.
Paulding County will return several of its top wide receivers on offense such as Antonio Golden, who had a team-high 355 yards and one touchdown last season.
“Antonio has grown this offseason and we’re excited about what he will do for us this season,” said Hamilton.
The coaching staff is also optimistic about the offensive line which will be led by Steven Grant. The Patriots will replace running back Thomas Sieh who had a team-high 1,019 yards rushing and seven touchdowns last year but has been converted to middle linebacker for this upcoming season. Malik Rush returns to the backfield and had 214 yards on the ground last season with two touchdowns.
The quarterback position will be an open competition with Tre Lewis and Bailey Johnson vying for the starting spot.
“We’re looking to throw the ball more this year and use our skill players in space more often,” Hamilton said. “The more we can practice that, the better we’ll be this year.”
Defensively, the Patriots allowed only 24 points last season which was the sixth-best in its 11-team region last season.
They return nine starters to the unit led by All-County defensive lineman Brandon Ballard whose 2013 campaign saw the senior lead the team in tackles (75) and sacks (7).
Paulding County opens its season on Aug. 29 against Pepperell.