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 firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll do my best to get to your request when I visit that team's practice.