“Any time you move up you realize it’s going to be a challenge because there are bigger schools,” Stockbridge coach Kevin Whitley said. “If you look at the numbers, we are on the low end of 5A. It will be a challenge but you can’t put but 11 on the field. We’re going to embrace it and do the best we can.”
Even though Stockbridge had 11 players from last year’s 11-2 team, which advanced to the quarterfinals, go on to play football in college, the Tigers still won’t be ignored by their county rivals.
“When I first got here, we were so bad that we were at somebody’s homecoming every week,” Whitley said. “It’s a different kind of mindset now. You go from almost being the hunter to the hunted so you generally get people’s best effort each week. We won’t be able to sneak up on anybody but we just got to do what we do.”
Stockbridge will have junior Malachi Brown back at quarterback, highly touted defensive ends Titus Davis (senior) and Charles Wiley (junior), and Tyree Turner back on the defensive line.
“We’ve got some talent up front but we are going to be young in some areas,” Whitley said. “Hopefully we just got to respond well to the lights.”
Whitley said Turner committed to South Alabama but Davis is still undecided on his college destination despite the information of his commitment to UCF.
“Titus will definitely be somebody that everybody will have marked on their scouting reports,” Whitley said. “He will have to play every week at a high level. If he does that, he will give other guys some opportunities to make plays because him getting double-teamed is not a bad thing.”
Outside of the Tigers’ region schedule, one of their other games to look forward to is their first-ever meeting with ELCA this season.
“I think it is a game that this county wanted to see,” Whitley said. “We know they won a state title. They’ve probably been the best program in our county if not the state. We will have our hands full.”