With a small step four seasons ago, the Tigers doubled their win total. Then in 2010, Stockbridge tripled its number of wins (6) from the previous year and advanced to the postseason. The Tigers went a little higher in 2011, winning nine games and earning their first-ever playoff victory.
Then with little surprise, Stockbridge upped its win total to 11, captured the program’s first region title and reached the Class AAAA quarterfinals last year.
“Everything worked out great last year,” Whitley said. “The kids worked hard. We have been able to improve every year.”
So if this trend continues for the Tigers, they could find themselves in the Final Four this season.
Stockbridge definitely has what it takes to surpass last season’s accomplishments, especially when four (Kendarius Webster, Javon Brandon, Antonio Mallard and Timarcus Cullins) of the nine players returning on defense are being recruited to play in college.
“The defense played extremely well,” Whitley said. “We’re looking for them to be the strong point of our team.”
“It’s going to be hard for coaches to plan against us,” Brandon said. “It’s going to be hard for other teams to throw the ball. We’re coming down hitting too so it’s going to be hard to strategize against us.”
Last season, Stockbridge’s defense allowed just 9.5 points per game but that was under defensive coordinator Morris Starr, who is now the head coach at Henry County. As a result, the remaining Tigers will have to prove they are just as effective under Kenny Barrow.
On offense, Stockbridge has just five players returning and was still seeking quarterback Trent Earl’s replacement at press time. Competing for the position were two sophomores and Brandon, who also plays cornerback and safety.
The player who earns the position will then try to get the ball in the hands of running back Maetron Thomas as much as possible.
“Maetron is very explosive and runs hard,” Whitley said. “He has good moves and excellent speed. We’re just going to try to get him the ball in space and let him do what he does.”