North Cobb is taking its foot off the brakes in 2019.
Wherever it plans to go, it will be going full speed ahead with no stops.
The Warriors began the 2018 season 6-0 before losing their final four. Going forward, coach Shane Queen said the team just has to push the gas a little bit harder.
“We want to be in the postseason,” Queen said. “The only way we can do that is to amp up the pressure, work a little bitter harder. Whether its lifting, class, film and practice, the guys just have to take the next step. I have seen the growing stages this spring.”
North Cobb lost 17 players to graduation. Linebacker Trustin Key, who led the team with 87 tackles and Caleb Oppan, the team’s leading sack leader with seven, are the most notable defenders who have graduated.
Running back Christian Singleton, who was second in the region with 1,348 rushing yards and served as the Warriors’ workhorse, signed with Western Michigan.
Queen said the Warriors will miss his production on the field, but they cannot dwell on it.
“Christian demanded so much respect on the field,” Queen said. “He was huge for us during his time here, but we have to focus on the young guys. We still have Tommeio Walker and Cam Cunningham, who will both feed off of one another next season.”
Walker rushed for 258 yards and five touchdowns.
Returning starting quarterback Trevor Lovett will have a lot on his plate this summer. He threw for 1,462 yards, 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions a year ago and Queen said the Warriors could look to pass more with Christian Singleton gone.
“Last season, we were so run-heavy,” Queen said. “Instead, we will explore with airing it out more. As a coach, you have to understand the strengths of your team.”
Rising freshman Malachi Singleton, Christian’s younger brother, could be the wildcard for the Warriors’ offseason strategy. As a seventh-grader, Singleton led the North Cobb eighth-grade team to the Georgia Middle School Athletic Association playoffs as the starting quarterback.
Queen says he will pick the best quarterback to lead the Warriors.
“Lovett is a really solid quarterback for us,” Queen said. “We have Malachi coming in as a ninth-grader, so he has to get his feet wet. There will be a competition. We want the best guy for the job.”
Last year's offensive line featured Jake Nicholson, Jack Edwards, Josh Kimmons and others to open holes for Christian Singleton, and it kept Lovett standing upright. Nicholson and Edwards have been lost to graduation.
“Our offensive line isn’t really a major fix, simply because we have a couple guys who are capable of filling those spots,” Queen said.