Valley Preps

Here’s what to expect from local 3A and 2A football teams this season

New football coach at Spencer High School shares little known fact about himself

Robert Sanders, the newly announced head football coach at Spencer High School, shared Wednesday that he considers himself a prankster and enjoys creating nicknames for his players. "I try to lighten it up because sports can be difficult," he said.
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Robert Sanders, the newly announced head football coach at Spencer High School, shared Wednesday that he considers himself a prankster and enjoys creating nicknames for his players. "I try to lighten it up because sports can be difficult," he said.

High school football is finally back, and gets started this week.

The Ledger-Enquirer is previewing each school in the coverage area as preps football season gets going. The previews will be by classification, unless warranted (for example, private schools and Alabama schools get a separate preview).

Up next are the local GHSA 3A and 2A teams.


Spotted August 16, 2019, at the Shaw vs. Kendrick football game Darrell Roaden Special to the Ledger-Enquirer


The Kendrick Cherokees have two wins in the past three years, and enter 2019 off back-to-back 1-9 seasons. The Cherokees haven’t had a winning season since 2013, when they were in GHSA Class 2A, but second-year coach Andre Slappey isn’t letting that damage his spirits.

Slappey said the Cherokees must cut down on mental mistakes if they’re to win more games this year.

The Cherokees travel to Region 4-AAA champion Peach County to kick off region play. They also face three other area teams: Shaw, Hardaway and Jordan. It’s a daunting schedule, but the Cherokees look to continue improving.

Key Players:

  • Ali Lambert, defensive end/safety
  • Rayshawn Hill, running back
  • Demari Shingles, offensive lineman

Key Games:

  • At Peach County, Sept. 27
  • VS. Rutland, Oct. 4
  • VS. Central-Macon, Oct. 12



It’s not every day you come across a team that went 5-1 in its region, made the state semifinals, and still was not the best team in the region. That’s where Callaway found itself last year: second in Region 5-AA, behind eventual state champion Heard County.

The Cavaliers have made the 2A quarterfinals in each of the past three seasons, advancing to the semifinals in two of them. Now, the Cavaliers are ready to make the jump to a state title.

The Cavaliers open with a big one: Opelika (Alabama) on the road. They get state champion Heard County at home, but must travel to Spencer the week prior.

Key Players:

  • Tank Bigsby, running back
  • Tate Johnson, offensive lineman
  • Jacob Freeman, receiver
  • Demetrius Coleman, quarterback

Key Games:

  • At Opelika, Sept. 22
  • VS. Spencer, Oct. 19
  • VS. Heard County, Oct. 25

Spotted at the Brookstone vs. Jordan football game Special to the Ledger-Enquirer/Darrell Roaden


The Jordan Red Jackets finished one spot above last-place Temple in Region 5-AA last season, with wins against Kendrick and the aforementioned Tigers the only two wins on the season.

Now, the Red Jackets look to improve as they enter Joe Kegler’s second season as head coach.

Jordan’s schedule is a tough one. The Red Jackets face 3A Monroe and 1A Brookstone to open up the season, and must travel to Temple. They close the season with back-to-back games against Callaway and Spencer.

Key Players:

  • Terrell Barnes, receiver
  • Metellus Epps, Jr., running back/linebacker
  • Brandon Senior, receiver

Key Games:

  • At Temple, Oct. 4
  • VS. Callaway, Oct. 31
  • VS. Spencer, Nov. 7

Spotted at the Carver versus Spencer football game August 24, 2018, at A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium. Special to the Ledger-Enquirer/Darrell Roaden


Spencer’s 3-8 2019 record won’t turn any heads, but don’t let that take away from what was a solid season for the Greenwave.

Spencer finished fourth in Region 5-AA, good enough for a playoff berth, where it fell to Rabun County 65-0. All three of the Greenwave’s wins were region wins: Lamar County, Temple and Jordan.

They’ve got a new coach, too. Robert Sanders, who has served in a variety of roles at Spencer (including athletic director), takes the coaching reins this season. Sanders replaces Justin Newman, who was fired despite the Greenwave qualifying for the state playoffs in his lone season as the head coach.

He’s confident in his squad, and he’ll need to be, because the Greenwave have a brutal schedule.

That schedule includes Columbus, Carver and Northside in three consecutive weeks to open the season. There’s a silver lining, though: The Greenwave only have two true road games.

Key Players:

  • Malachi Morris, receiver
  • Ja’Kobe Smith, linebacker/defensive end
  • James Smyre, receiver, linebacker

Key Games:

  • VS. Callaway, Oct. 19
  • At Temple, Oct. 25
  • VS. Jordan, Nov. 7
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Joshua Mixon is a reporter for the Ledger-Enquirer. He covers sports (Auburn and preps) and local news, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America. He previously covered Georgia athletics for the Telegraph. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshDMixon.