“We’ve had a much better start to this season than last,” Stone Mountain head coach Dante Ferguson said. “The players have more experience and have confidence in our system.”
Offensively, the Pirates had the benefit of All-Region quarterback Corderel Cook, who has returned for his senior campaign and continued his stellar play, ranking among the top passers in passing yards (820) and touchdowns (9).
The surprise of the offensive unit has been senior running back Stephan Sheppard who has averaged nearly 100 yards of rushing per contest this season and has three touchdowns. “Stephan started last season as a cornerback but had taken off to another level running the ball for us,” Cook said.
Sheppard has the benefit of running behind an improved offensive line including William Moore, Antisus Prayor and Jason Lubin.
Defensively, senior defensive lineman Rayjone Simes has one of the most unique stories in DeKalb county football. Prior to 2013, he had never played football at the varsity level. However, with his body frame (6’7’’, 220) and athleticism, the Pirates’ coaching staff convinced Simes to play this season.
Simes has five sacks this season and scholarship offers from Louisville, Kentucky and Virginia Tech among others.
Stone Mountain’s secondary has been strong as well with senior Arlonzo Simpson leading the team in tackles with 24 and sophomore Lyvonne Smith garnering a team-high two interceptions. Senior Raymond Jennings has been a force in the defensive backfield as well. “Raymond is a quiet leader who produces on the field,” Ferguson said. “Other teams’ offenses have to gameplan around him.”
In his fifth season with Stone Mountain, Ferguson seeks to get the Pirates into the playoffs for the second time during his tenure. “We have the chance to make the postseason if we take it one game at a time and control our own destiny,” Ferguson said.