The turmoil began in February, when coach Michael Youngblood resigned after leading the Eagles to a 3-7 record in his lone season. Geoff Pastrick, previously the coach at Chapel Hill and a former assistant at McEachern, was then hired in March to take the reins at South Cobb.
But the job offer was rescinded three weeks later when the Cobb County School District’s human resources department did not approve Pastrick’s hire.
From there, Sherrod Rainge, South Cobb’s offensive coordinator under former coach Ed Koester and offensive line coach under Youngblood, was promoted to the head-coaching position.
Rainge’s promotion may pay off in the long run.
It appears that he will be reverting to the style of football that was successful under Koester in the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
In 2011, South Cobb went 8-4 in 2011 and won their first state playoff game in team history. A year later, the Eagles went 7-3, but they ended up on the losing end of a tiebreaker with Hillgrove for the final playoff spot.
Rainge and his players spent spring practice reviewing the no-huddle spread offense used by Koester.
“I was actually surprised. The kids picked up the offense pretty good,” Rainge said. “We are a no-huddle spread team. We will go four-wide and try to keep the defense off balanced that way.”
With seven returning starters on offense, the Eagles are capable of making the transition.
Kylil Carter is entering his second year as the starting quarterback, rushing for 926 yards and six touchdowns and throwing for an additional 875 yards and six scores last year. Tyreik Fitzpatrick got the bulk of the snaps at running back, and Michael Lapeyrolerie returns at receiver after playing in the slot last year.
South Cobb is also returning a pair of offensive linemen in Henry White and Tyler Kendall, both of whom have been getting attention from Division I and Division II colleges.
If there is an area of concern for South Cobb, it’s the defense.
While the Eagles are returning an experienced defensive end in Elijah Ponder, Rainge said the remaining positions are still up for grabs.
On special teams, Carlos Saldana will handle kicking duties for the fourth straight year.
“Our offense is definitely ahead of our defense,” Rainge said. “I think we can outscore people, and I think we’ll have some high-scoring games. We used spring to basically get to know the kids better.”
Leaving talent-rich Region 4AAAAAA, South Cobb will be joining county rivals Campbell and Pebblebrook in the new Region 3AAAAAA, where they will battle the likes of Newnan, Westlake, Douglas County, East Coweta and Langston Hughes.