Clarkston football players 01

Clarkston players Malcolm Davis, Dante McIntyre and Ricky Williams work on their offense during Dekalb County Public Schools Athletic Department Media Day.

The region 5-5A could almost be renamed the "DeKalb County Region" as nine of DeKalb's 22 varsity football teams now call that region home.

The region, as organized by the Georgia High School Association, contains Arabia Mountain, Chamblee, Clarkston, Columbia, Cross Keys, Lithonia, Miller Grove and Southwest DeKalb.

The only teams playing a non-region schedule in that group this year are Cross Keys and Clarkston

Lithonia varsity head football coach Marcus Jelks said with this region being packed with DeKalb schools, it should be a "very competitive one."

"This region will certainly test each team, but good competition always brings out the best in those teams and I am sure that will definitely ring true in this region."

Jelks had 60 players out for fall practice.

From an offensive standpoint, he said one of the team's strongest elements is its quarterback, three-year starter Robert Hatchett (6-2, 185).

On defense, tackle Ashanti Benloss (6-0, 260) will be a plus for the Bulldogs this season.

With the death last month of Southwest DeKalb varsity head football coach Michael Tanks, the school is still in the process of selecting an interim coach, according to the late coach's wife, Michelle.

She said school officials had met with the team as this process continues.

New Miller Grove head coach Justin Larmond said his team is starting fresh from top to bottom.

On the Wolverine offense, junior quarterback Darren Parker will be a key to the team moving the football as will senior running back Ezekio Gouch.

On defense, Larmond will depend on junior defensive end Caleb Tannor, who the coach said works hard, "and does what he is coached to do."

Chamblee's new head football coach, Curtis Mattair said he has a very young club and, as such, its youth is his major concern.

"I have always believed that nothing takes the place of experience," he said.

However, the strongest element on his squad is special teams play where seniors Roberto Paz and Conner Whitley (6-1, 162) are vying for the kicking job.

There is also competition on going for the Bulldogs quarterback position as Whitley and Stuart Steele (6-1, 195) are vying for the starting nod.

Although Cross Keys is not playing a region schedule, head coach Mark Adams said he has already had a couple of players to stand out, including two-way linemen David Rodriquez and sophomore Hau Vo.

Clarkston is also not playing a region schedule but head coach Terrance Hughey has been pleased with the play thus far of a number of his athletes.

Angora quarterback Boday Tolowa (6-0, 160) is in his third year with the club and should bring experience and leadership to the position.

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