The Falcons finished the 2013 season with a 3-7 overall record after winning their first two games, but Huntley ended up as one of their brighter spots. He threw for 939 yards and nine touchdowns and rushed for an additional 861 yards and eight touchdowns.
His potential successors, however, lack in varsity experience, and one of them hasn’t played organized football.
Jacobe Burke finished spring practice as the leading candidate. He was the JV starter last season, and not only does he have great speed, but has an edge in maturity over his fellow competitors.
Rising sophomore Christian Swann, who started for Pebblebrook’s freshman team last season, possesses a similar skillset as Burke, but is inexperienced.
“(Burke) has a little bit more knowledge of the game, but he hasn’t played in a varsity game,” Pebblebrook coach Tommy Macon said. “He’s a bigger kid and older, but they both got equal playing time in the spring game.”
A third quarterback candidate, Javon Hiskell, has a height advantage and a stronger arm, but has never donned pads. Hiskell came out last season but a broken arm prevented him from playing.
The Falcons are seeking running back help as well after three-year starter Perry Seldon graduated.
The running back pool isn’t as big as years past, but Tyreke King-El has shown he is the fastest of the group and with a sub-4.5 in the 40-yard dash. King-El will likely share reps with Javion Lawson in the backfield.
Pebblebrook is also replacing its entire offensive line but Macon sees a bright spot in what he has coming up.
“The good thing is,” he said, “is that they are twice the size as our previous line.”
Kendall Quarles and Hakeem Bailey, who of who are more than 6-feet tall, are the frontrunners of Pebblebrook’s receving corps. Quarles is looking to surpass his 282 receiving yards and two touchdowns from last year.
Defensively, the Falcons are in better shape. They’re returning the majority of their defensive backs and linemen.
Brian Miller is returning to his post at defensive end after posting 53 tackles and 4.5 sacks. Jesus Izaquire is also getting reps up front along with Marcus Mosanto.
Pebblebrook’s receivers and running backs – particularly Lawson, Bailey and Quarles – is expected to play a role in the secondary. Bailey is coming off a three-interception season in 2013.
After struggling the last two seasons – Pebblebrook was winless in 2012 – the Falcons won’t have to contend with 4AAAAAA powerhouses McEachern, Hillgrove and North Cobb this season.
They relocated to 3AAAAAA along with Cobb County rivals South Cobb and Campbell and will go up against Douglas County, East Coweta, Langston Hughes, Newnan and Westlake.
“Not that there are lesser football teams in the region, but I think we’re more equally matched,” Macon said. “That will make it better for us, competition wise.”