High School Sports

High school football: Shaw players, coaches excited about defensive changes in 2011

Coach Jamie Fox made a few moves, which I explain below, and the five returning starters add some experience to a team aching to improve on last season's 3-7 record.

Fox moved Terrance Tarver, a first-team Ledger-Enquirer All-Bi-City center in 2010, to nose guard and took Olawale Dada from defensive end to middle linebacker. Add in returning linemen in Joseph Purter, who has an offer from Vanderbilt, and Bernard Granville and the Raiders defense is looking good, Fox said.

“Our strength will be our defensive line, and our linebackers look pretty good. We’re expecting our defense to just step it up this year.”

The Raiders play in Region 6-AAA, which is home to Carrollton, Central-Carroll, Columbus, Haralson County, LaGrange, Troup and Manchester. With Troup and Carrollton being likely top-10 teams this season, Fox said he isn’t expecting an easy road.

“Carrollton is good, but Troup is going to be just one step behind them,” Fox said. “Then you’ve got Central-Carroll and Harelson County, who have new coaches. You don’t know what to expect out of them, but you have got to figure they will be better, too.”

The Raiders return five defensive starters and six offensive starters from 2010, but Fox said there have still been difficulties filling holes, particularly on the offensive line.

“I think the biggest thing we have to deal with, like every other team, is offensive-line depth,” Fox said. “There aren’t many of those types of kids. We are still looking for another answer on the O-line. We’re looking for someone to take over at right guard and for some other people to step up.”

Joseph Purter, senior DE, on the team’s goals:

“Making it to the playoffs and making it deep in the playoffs,” Purter said. “Then making it to the (Georgia) Dome, and the biggest goal is winning state.”

Bernard Granville, senior DE, on defensive moves.

“Some people are definitely better at some positions than others,” Granville said. “And they have just been working real hard at getting better every day.”

Shaw's 2011 schedule:

Date Day Time Opponent Location/Score

Aug 26 Fri Central, Phenix City, AL Away

Sep 01 Thu 7:30 PM Smiths Station, AL Kinnett Stad, Columbus

Sep 09 Fri 7:30 PM Northside, Columbus (1-AAAA) Kinnett Stad

Sep 15 Thu 7:00 PM Manchester (5-AA) Kinnett Stad, Columbus

Sep 23 Fri 7:30 PM LaGrange (6-AAA)* Away

Oct 07 Fri 4:30 PM Columbus (6-AAA)* Kinnett Stad, Columbus

Oct 14 Fri 7:30 PM Carrollton (6-AAA)* Home

Oct 20 Thu 7:00 PM Troup (6-AAA)* Away

Oct 28 Fri 7:30 PM Central, Carroll (6-AAA)* Kinnett Stad, Columbus

Nov 05 Sat 7:30 PM Haralson County (6-AAA)* Kinnett Stad, Columbus

Coming up in the Ledger-Enquirer

If you're wondering how your favorite team is doing leading up to kickoff, keep checking back. I'll be going to one or two practices just about every weekday for the next two weeks or so until I have hit all 17 Bi-City schools. I'll be posting blogs, photos and videos as I visit each one, but the featured stories about the teams will begin running one a day in the Ledger-Enquirer's print edition beginning Saturday and running in reverse alphabetical order. Here's the schedule of which days you can find which team's story in print:

Aug. 6: Spencer

Aug. 7: Smiths Station (Blog, video and photos online here)

Aug. 8: Shaw (Blog, video and photo gallery online here)

Aug. 9: Russell County

Aug. 10: Pacelli

Aug. 11: Northside

Aug. 12: Kendrick

Aug. 13: Jordan

Aug. 14: Harris County

Aug. 15: Hardaway

Aug. 16: Glenwood

Aug. 17: Columbus

Aug. 18: Chattahoochee County

Aug. 19: Central-Phenix City

Aug. 20: Carver

Aug. 21: Calvary Christian

Aug. 22: Brookstone

Aug. 23: 2011 Ledger-Enquirer Dandy Dozen team announced

Have any particularly interesting questions you want me to a coach or player? Have something you'd like to read about on the blog? Have a story suggestion? Paste it in the comments or send it in an email to cwhite@ledger-enquirer.com and I'll do my best to get to your request when I visit that team's practice.

- Chris White (follow me on Twitter @le_chriswhite and at facebook.com/lechriswhite)