High school football in Coweta County was pretty interesting in 2017, to say the least.
Both area private school teams, Heritage School and Trinity Christian, made runs in the GISA state playoffs while only one of the three area public school teams, Newnan High, qualified for GHSA postseason play.
Trinity made team history this season, steamrolling its way to its first-ever Region 1-AAA title and its first-ever trip to the state finals. Heritage was Region 1-AAA runners-up and won one state-playoff game before losing in the second round.
The strange thing about area public school football was that non-playoff teams East Coweta (5-5) and Northgate (6-4) finished with more overall wins this year than the Cougars of Newnan (4-7). The Cougars will not be apologizing for their record, of course, especially since Newnan started the 2017 season 0-3 before rebounding to make the playoffs under first-year head coach Chip Walker.
East Coweta and Northgate didn’t produce playoff teams in 2017, but both teams featured two players who were among the best in the county and excelled on the field all season long.
EC junior running back Gerald Green had to fill some big shoes to fill in 2017, manning the starting running back position in place of graduated senior Devonte Brown. Green did a great job for the Indians this season, rushing for 1,134 yards on 160 carries and scoring 16 touchdowns — surpassing Brown’s rushing numbers last season (981, 12 TDs). Green also caught 10 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns.
For all he did for EC on offense this season, Green was selected as the 2017 Newnan Times-Herald Offensive Player of the Year.
“Gerald was a great player for us this year. He showed up every day to get better and he improved every day,” said EC first-year head football coach John Small. “He is not only fast, but he is a very physical player as well.”
Green was also a serious threat on special teams this season, returning three kickoffs for touchdowns and almost breaking several more returns for scores. Green, along with teammate Dantarius Chunn, was so prolific in kickoff returns that teams stopped kicking to them altogether later in the season.
“Anytime Gerald touched the ball, he had a chance to make a big play,” Small said.
And speaking of making big plays, Northgate senior linebacker Jack Eskew specialized in that for the Vikings. Northgate wasn’t the prolific offensive team in 2017, as it lost 1,000-yard rushers Ton Evans and Kyle Cater, but they definitely were strong defensively thanks to Eskew’s play.
Eskew recorded 100 tackles on the season, 68 of them solo tackles. He was consistently in the other teams’ backfield, getting six tackles for loss and had one quarterback hurry this year. He was a true leader for the Vikings on all sides of the football.
For his efforts defensively, Eskew was named the 2017 Newnan Times-Herald Defensive Player of the Year.
“Jack is a great athlete who plays hard every snap in the game and in practice. He is a great player and even better person,” said Northgate first-year head football coach Kesley Dalrymple. “He was a tremendous leader on defense and for our entire football team.”
More than 20 seniors were named to this year’s NTH All-County team, but there were a few younger players who were selected to the team. A total of four sophomores and one freshman made either the first or second team this season.
2017 Newnan Times-Herald All-County Football Team
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Gerald Green, East Coweta, Jr.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Jack Eskew, Northgate, Sr.
LB Ricky Boozer, Newnan, Jr.
DB Tre Bridges, Newnan, Jr.
WR Juan Calipolitti, East Coweta, Sr.
RB Nick Carter, Northgate, Sr.
ATH Dantarius Chunn, East Coweta, Jr.
LB/FB Sam Cotton, Trinity, Sr.
OL Thomas Crymes, Heritage, Jr.
LB Caleb Dallas, Trinity, Sr.
DB Tristan Escoe, Newnan, Jr.
OL Evan Fields, East Coweta, Sr.
DB David Flowers, Northgate, Jr.
DB Connor Fortner, Northgate, Sr.
WR P.J. Harris, Newnan, Sr.
LB Devin Holmes, East Coweta, Soph.
DB Malik Hussie, Newnan, Jr.
DE Devontae Johnson, Northgate, Sr.
DB Zach Jones, Trinity, Jr.
WR Jamal Kennedy, East Coweta, Sr.
LB Billy Kilgore, Northgate, Sr.
LB Taylor McCawley, East Coweta, Jr.
P Kyle McLaren, Northgate, Sr.
LB Brandon Moore, Newnan, Sr.
QB Christian Reid, East Coweta, Sr.
LB Chandler Retsky, Heritage, Sr.
WR/DB Brandon Scruggs, Heritage, Soph.
QB Zach Seymour, Trinity, Jr
RB Luke Vermilya, Trinity, Sr.
K Peter Walker, East Coweta, Sr.
WR Woody Waters, Newnan, Jr.
DB Jalen Whisby, East Coweta, Jr.
RB/LB Anthony Williams, Heritage, Sr.
LB/S Wright Arnall, Heritage, Jr.
DE Vinny Carnazzo, Heritage, Soph.
OL Tucker Estes, Northgate, Sr.
DB DeVante Ford, East Coweta, Sr.
DL Eric Geter, Newnan, Soph.
DB Patrick Griffies, Heritage, Jr.
FB Elijah Griggs, Newnan, Sr.
DL Jayleen Heard, Newnan, Jr.
K Kellen Lynch, Newnan, Jr.
RB Jay McKenzie, Northgate, Jr.
RB Bryson Moss, Newnan, Fr.
RB Mautavier Parks, Newnan, Sr.
DL Clay Patterson, East Coweta, Jr.
OL Alex Perry, Newnan, Sr.
OL Jamison Phillips, Newnan, Sr.
WR Kyle Riesselmann, Trinity, Jr.
RB Levi Robinson, Trinity, Sr.
OL Will Sachs, Northgate, Jr.
DL Jalen Smith, East Coweta, Sr.
QB Bryant Walker, Newnan, Sr.
Jayland Rivers — East Coweta
Henry Arnall, Ben Carnazzo, Alex Hardnett — Heritage
Tyriq Hussie — Newnan
Chandler Cao, Tanner Hughes, Koby Lawrence-Duncan, Trandon Torres-Niles — Northgate
Shep Hancock, Cameron Hellgeth, Cody Jones-Price, Jordan Mitchell — Trinity