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Coach recovering from surgery doesn’t slow team
by Ericka Birdsong
ebirdsong@neighbornewspapers.com
September 18, 2013 10:04 AM | 1170 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
South Paulding running back Jae Bowen runs the ball during practice.
South Paulding running back Jae Bowen runs the ball during practice.
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After getting a new head coach in Ed Koester, the South Paulding football team is 2-0 and hoping to improve that record every week.

However, Koester has yet to coach a game. Assistant coach Jeff Sloan has assumed the job temporarily as Koester has been out almost five weeks following surgery to remove a tumor from his spinal cord.

Athletic Director Chris McAllister said in an email Koester was recovering well and could be in the press box for the Sept. 27 game against Allatoona.

With a 42-35 victory over Rome in the season opener Aug. 30, this was the first time the Spartans had won the first game of the season since 2009.

Assistant coach Trey Donaldson said, “It is always good to get the season off on the right start with a win. The kids and coaching staff have been working hard over the summer to prepare for this season. It was a big win on the road against a very good Rome team.”

Donaldson said Koester’s absence has not caused any problems for the team as the rest of the coaching staff has “done a good job keeping the kids focused” on their original goals and the players have done well.

“He was here to install our new offense during the summer workouts. We are, however, anticipating his return. Hopefully, it will be soon,” Donaldson said.

After the 55-34 victory over Villa Rica on Sept. 6, there were three seniors at the top of the Spartans stat sheet – quarterback Chandler Burks, running back Jae Bowen and linebacker Khalia Hackett.

Burks has completed 32 of 49 passes for 595 yards and six touchdowns, along with 31 carries for 300 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

Bowen has 21 carries for 157 rushing yards and two touchdowns and 14 receptions for 227 yards and three touchdowns.

On the defensive side, Hackett has 14 solo tackles and 22 total tackles.

South Paulding is currently 2-0 and was one of the three undefeated teams in region 5-AAAAA along with New Manchester (4-0) and Allatoona (3-0). After traveling to Woodland on Sept. 20, their competition doesn’t get easier as they host Allatoona, travel to North Paulding and host New Manchester in consecutive weeks.

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