At the Helm: A Look At The Head Coaches In 2021

As we enter the 2021 football season, it’s always a MUST to see who will lead each team on the gridiron this season. Two new coaches take over programs this time around. The two that departed are HUGE – Michael Brown of Commerce and Brian Allison of Union.

Here are the coaches leading the programs, and their respective track records (order by number of seasons).

Sid Maxwell – Dawson County Tigers

27 Seasons // 7th Year at Dawson Co

Maxwell enters year seven at Dawson County and 27th season overall as a head coach. He continues to be one of the most level-headed coaches around. You rarely see him show emotion on the sidelines despite the circumstances.

Total Record: 176-106

2020: 6-6 (4-2 7-AAA); 2nd Round

All Stops (3)
Dawson Co: 48-23 (2015-Present [6 years])
Lambert: 31-16 (2009-13 [5 years])
Sequoyah: 97-67 (1994-2008 [15 years])

Playoffs: 17 Appearances (12-17); 2 Quarterfinals Runs [’04, ’15]

Region Titles: 2 [2015; 2003]

All-State Players: 25

Outlook: Maxwell and his 176 wins rank 18th among the active coaches in the state. He’s coming off a 6-6 season in which a few plays separated this team from being 8-2 rather than 5-5 in the regular season. He has a senior third-year starting QB to rely on, and a bevy of playmakers on defense that should make this team one of the favorites to take Region 7-AAA.

Tim Cokely – White Co Warriors

13 Seasons in GA (26 Overall) // 5th Year at White Co

Cokely is in his 27th season now as a head coach, and enters year five in control of the White County program.

Total Record: 53-43 in GA; 175-90 *incomplete FL records

2020: 7-3 (3-2 7-AAA); 1st Round

All Stops (6)
White Co: 22-20 (2017-Present [4 years])
Leon (FL): 20-23 (2013-16 [4 years])
Marianna (FL): 8-2 (2012 [1 year])
Greater Atlanta Christian: 17-5 (2010-11 [1 year])
North Florida Christian (FL): 94-22 (1995-2004; 2008-09 [12 years])
Colquitt Co: 14-18 (2005-07 [3 years])

Playoffs: 5 Appearances [17 Overall] (2-5); 10 Quarterfinals runs in FL [’95, ’96, ’97, ’98, ’99, ’00, ’01, ’03, ’04, ’08]; 7 State Championship Games [’95, ’96, ’98, ’99, ’00, ’01, ’08]; 6 State Titles in FL [’96, ’98, ’99, ’00, ’01, ’08]

Region Titles: 0

All-State Players: 11

Outlook: It’s hard to call a 7-win season a disappointment, but injuries really gave the Warriors a bad draw in the first round of the playoffs last year. That led to an early exit, though the guys played their hearts out and nearly pulled off a monumental upset. There’s so much talent coming back despite losing QB J Ben Haynes (4-year starter), and it begins with Silas Mulligan and Darius Cannon. Those two will be doing MUCH of the heavy lifting this year.

Wesley Tankersley – Stephens Co Indians

14 Seasons // 4th Year at Stephens Co

Tankersley enters his 14th season overall and third at Stephens County.

Total Record: 76-62

2020: 5-3 (1-2 8-AAAA); No Playoffs

All Stops (3)
Stephens Co: 11-18 (2018-Present [3 years])
Ridgeland: 24-10 (2015-17 [3 years])
Gilmer: 41-34 (2008-14 [7 years])

Playoffs: 8 Appearances (3-8)

Region Titles: 2 [2017, 2016]

All-State Players: 20

Outlook: Tankersley had a lot to like about last season, as the team won 5 games including over rivals Habersham. COVID hampered this team and kept them out of the playoffs, but the emergence of now-junior QB Ben Stowe is something the Indians can build around.

Gene Cathcart – Jefferson Dragons

11 Seasons in GA (17 Overall) // 5th Year at Jefferson

Cathcart enters his 5th year at JHS and 14th overall.

Total Record: 80-36 in GA; 147-51 overall

2020: 12-1 (4-0 8-AAAA); State Runner-Up; Region Champions

All Stops (4)
Jefferson: 40-9 (2017-Present [4 years])
Seneca (SC): 9-3 (2014 [1 year])
Greenwood (SC): 58-12 (2009-13 [5 years])
Habersham Central: 40-27 (2003-08 [6 years])

Playoffs: 7 Appearances [13 Overall] (12-7); 9 Quarterfinals runs in GA & SC [’06, ’07, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12, ’17; ’19; ’20]; 4 State Championship Appearances [’10, ’11, ’12, ’21]; 1 State Title [’12]

Region Titles: 4 [2020, 2019, 2007, 2006]

All-State Players: 21

Outlook: Cathcart returns a 5-star stud in Malaki Starks, and brings back fellow All-State senior Jordan Perry as well as All-State move-in at RB, Sammy Brown (from Commerce). Many guys are back on defense as well, so Cathcart and his Dragons could make yet another title game run.

Benji Harrison – Habersham Raiders

10 Seasons // 7th Year at Habersham

Harrison enters year 10 overall and 7th season at Habersham Central.

Total Record: 36-59

2020: 6-5 (4-2 8-AAAAAA); 1st Round

All Stops (2)
Habersham Central: 24-39 (2015-Present [6 years])
Jackson Co: 12-20 (2012-14 [3 years])

Playoffs: 4 Appearances (1-4)

Region Titles: 0

All-State Players: 10

Outlook: Harrison and the Raiders had a great 2020 season, as Joshua Pickett and Jackson Clouatre led the boys to the playoffs. It’s not a rebuild, as there are still some great pieces around, but Harrison will have to “re-tool” in a lot of areas, starting with QB (though he is accustomed to that with 5 QBs in the past 6 years).

Jason Roquemore – Towns Co Indians

10 Seasons // 3rd Year at Towns Co

This is Roquemore’s third year as head coach at Towns County and 10th overall.

Total Record: 19-70

2020: 3-6 (1-3 8-A); No Playoffs

All Stops (2)
Towns Co: 3-16 (2019-Present [2 years])
Johnson: 16-54 (2012-18 [7 years])

Playoffs: 0

Region Titles: 0

All-State Players: 1

Outlook: Roquemore got the engine going at Towns last season, with 3 wins coming fairly quick before they tapered off. He lost some big pieces, but returns All-State RB Kyle Oakes to help this team make the next step.

Mark Hollars – Commerce Tigers

6 Seasons // 1st Year at Commerce

This is Hollars’ first season at Commerce and sixth overall.

Total Record: 30-25

2020: 8-3 (2-1 Region 7-A Private) *for North Cobb Christian

All Stops (2)
Commerce: 0-0 (2021-Present [0 years])
North Cobb Christian: 30-25 (2016-2020 [5 years])

Playoffs: 3 Appearances (4-3); 1 Quarterfinals appearance [2018]

Region Titles: 0

All-State Players: ?

Outlook: Year one for Mark Hollars at Commerce, and he has to replace the Tigers backfield of QB Trey Huff (transferred out) and RB Sammy Brown (gone to Jefferson). He took North Cobb Christian to the playoffs in three straight seasons, including a 10-win quarterfinals campaign in 2018.

Michael Perry – Union Co Panthers

5 Seasons // 1st Year at Union Co

This is Perry’s first year at Union and fifth overall.

Total Record: 21-20

2020: 4-4 (1-3 Region 8-AAAA) *at East Hall

All Stops (3)
Union Co: 0-0 (2021-Present [0 years])
East Hall: 6-12 (2019-20 [2 years])
Centennial: 15-8 (2017-18 [2 years])

Playoffs: 2 Appearances (1-2)

Region Titles: 0

All-State Players: ?

Outlook: Perry comes with a pair of playoff runs to his credit, both early on in his first two seasons at Centennial. He takes over a Union program that has seen its best crop of talent depart over the last two seasons. It’s a new era that opens up in Blairsville.

Jay Reid – Banks Co Leopards

4 Seasons // 4th Year at Banks Co

Reid enters his fourth season at Banks and overall.

Total Record: 8-23

2020: 1-10 (0-3 Region 8-AA); 1st Round

All Stops (1)
Banks Co: 8-23 (2018-Present [3 years])

Playoffs: 1 Appearance (0-1)

Region Titles: 0

All-State Players: 0

Outlook: A win got the Leopards on the board last season, and in a 4-team region they got into the postseason. However, they took a forfeit loss in the opening round. This season will tell if the program can make any kind of positive steps after a difficult last couple of years.

Jaybo Shaw – Rabun Co Wildcats

3 Seasons // 3rd Year at Rabun Co

Jaybo Shaw enters his second season over the Rabun program and second overall as a head coach.

Total Record: 24-3

2020: 12-2 (3-0 Region 8-AA); Semifinals; Region Champions

All Stops (1)
Rabun Co: 24-3 (2019-Present [2 years])

Playoffs: 2 Appearances (5-2); 2 Quarterfinals run [’19, ’20]; 1 Semifinals run [’20]

Region Titles: 2 [2020, 2019]

All-State Players: 10

Outlook: Another year, another DEEP playoff run for this dynasty. Jaybo Shaw had the offense scoring at will to a record pace of 621 total points. The scary thing is this team returns about 19 or 20 starters, and has brought in a couple of HUGE weapons (Jaden Gibson from Dawson; Baxley O’Brien from Flowery Branch) for senior Gunner Stockton to get one last shot at a title. There’s a great chance Rabun is in that title game. The schedule is ridiculously tough in the non-region portion, but that will only make this team battle tested early.

Caleb Sorrells – Lumpkin Co Indians

3 Seasons // 3rd Year at Lumpkin Co

This is Sorrell’s third year at Lumpkin and overall.

Total Record: 1-19

2020: 0-10 (0-6 Region 7-AAA)

All Stops (1)
Lumpkin Co: 1-19 (2019-Present [2 years])

Playoffs: 0

Region Titles: 0

All-State Players: 0

Outlook: This year tells a good deal about the direction of the program as Sorrells has had a couple of years to build the program up.

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