SPECIAL TEAMS: Jr. PK Noah Cromer, Sr. P Daniel McCreary
STRENGTH: Offensive line and quarterback -- Lumpkin should have a talented and experienced offensive line, while McCreary will provide good leadership at QB.
QUESTION: Youth -- A young team will need to learn to be consistent. How they adapt to the new changes under Waggoner will also play a factor.
KEY GAMES: Lumpkin opens with rival Dawson County on the road and then White County as part of four straight home games. The Indians start Region 8-AAAA play against Monroe Area, which advanced to the state semifinals in 2012. Waggoner says finding some wins early is key for confidence.
TRENDING: After back-to-back winning seasons, the Indians slipped last year and an entirely new staff could make for growing pains early. But Waggoner has only had one sub-.500 season in his four years as head coach in Georgia and the Indians should expect to see success sooner rather than later.
Aug. 30 at Dawson County
Sept. 6 vs. White County
Sept. 13 vs. West Hall
Sept. 20 vs. Monroe Area
Sept. 27 vs. Walnut Grove
Oct. 11 at Madison County
Oct. 18 at Eastside
Oct. 25 at Chestatee
Nov. 1 vs. Lanier
Nov. 8 at Stephens County
DAHLONEGA -- New Lumpkin County football coach Brad Waggoner had just one vision as he talked about his program's focus for the 2013 season.<br />
"It's all about moving forward," he said after being questioned about his team's losses from a year ago. "Not to take anything away from who was here before, but we need to change the attitude and mindset, and to do that you can't worry about what you had in the past or what you did before. I am only focused on who we have this year and what they can do now."<br />
Lumpkin County is coming off a 2-8 season in Region 8-AAAA and will have a tough schedule in 2013 with Monroe Area, Chestatee, Stephens County, Hart County, Jackson County (all playoff teams in 2012) and an improved Lanier on the schedule.<br />
<iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/72666344" width="500" height="375" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/72666344">2013 Lumpkin County Preview</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/wduntv">WDUN TV</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p><br />
"It's a quality region and there aren't any easy games," Waggoner said. "But right now we're just focused on our opening game (against Dawson County)."<br />
The Indians should be an improved offensive team with an experienced line in front of senior quarterback Daniel McCreary, who Waggoner said is well-suited for their new double-wing spread offense.<br />
"(Daniel) has shown a lot of leadership and has really picked things up quickly," Waggoner said. "I'm excited to see how good he can be. I feel like we'll be able to score some points if everyone stays healthy."<br />
McCreary will have several talented skilled players to distribute the ball too, led by junior running back Gunner Wood and senior receiver Jonathan Gilreath. Senior Caleb Stepp and junior Steven Bowen will anchor the line.<br />
Defensively the Indians will stay in a 4-3 but will be a work-in-progress early. Two of their top five players -- freshman linebacker Zack Matthews and sophomore cornerback Austin Pierce -- are young and will be relied on to play key roles. Linebacker Bruno Lopez is the only returning senior starter and juniors Timmy Summersett (linebacker) and Garrett Gray (defensive line) also return.<br />
"We're still trying to find the right spots for the right people and I think once we do that we'll be OK," Waggoner said. "The goal is to improve every week." <br />
Waggoner believes the Indians have the potential to pull some surprises in Region 8-AAAA.<br />
"I see a group of kids here that are committed to the program," he said. "It's a tough region but if they continue to buy into what we're teaching and improve, I think we can surprise some people. Our goal, like everyone else, is to get into the playoffs. The key will be to play well early on and build some confidence. Hopefully we can do that."
On Tuesday schools across the state, and plenty here in northeast Georgia, will learn their region foes for the next two years, as the GHSA releases its new alignments for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years.