2005 Football Preview
Class AAAA - Region 2
There are some key positions to fill, but this region still belongs to Statesboro. Replacing standouts like running back Nick Wedlow, linebacker Tommy Watkins and sure-footed kicker Zach Sanders will be tough, but there is plenty of talent returning for the Blue Devils. Quarterback David Cone (6-6, 205) returns for his senior season. The two-year starter is a proven leader who has gotten the job done, passing for 1,016 yards last season in Statesboro's wishbone offense. Running back Charles Rock (6-0, 200) also returns and should have a good season as a talented offensive line anchored by seniors Brennan Palmer (6-0, 245) and Deon Cooper (6-2, 270) returns. All-State standout Alex Dekle (6-2, 270) returns to anchor the defensive line.
Baldwin could approach last year's success if the Braves can play defense. The team features two of the state's top players on the offensive front - offensive linemen Maurice Hurt (6-4, 345) and Josh Ingram (6-2, 245). Senior cornerback Carson Hill 5-9, 165) returns in the defensive secondary.
Effingham County is expected to be much improved after missing the state playoffs last year. The Rebels hope a youthful offensive line has matured, which could make life easier for junior running back Antwan Wright (5-8, 170). Some underclassmen need to step forward, especially on defense, for Effingham County to contend for the postseason.
Jones County made the state playoffs for the first time since 2001 last season and seeks a return. Some holes have to be filled, but the good news is the Greyhounds boast one of the state's top defensive line prospects in Alex Gray (5-10, 285).
Greenbrier may challenge for the playoffs if some skill players can be found to complement the solid offensive and defensive lines. The Wolfpack's strength should be at linebacker where two-year starter Reggie Rice (6-0, 180) returns. Safety Paul Maness (5-9, 160) gives Greenbrier experience in the secondary. Both players are seniors.
Evans lost 19 starters after making the playoffs last year. Coach Marty Jackson has his work cut out this season, but the good news is that two-year starter running back Doug Coley (6-0, 175) is back for his junior campaign.
Other than Statesboro, Lakeside-Evans may have the most college prospects of anybody in the region. The Panthers should be better with offensive lineman Ryan Shuler (6-2, 250) and cornerback Arthur Marshall (5-10, 185) leading the way.
Wayne County hasn't fared well since dropping down a classification. The Yellow Jackets have matured and will be better but not enough to figure into the postseason race.
Even though the summer months are almost slow motion on the University of Florida campus, a time…