At the Helm: A Look At The Head Coaches In 2022

As we enter the 2022 football season, it’s always a MUST to see who will lead each team on the gridiron this season. We had major turnover since last year, with a shocking FOUR new coaches take over programs this time around. Three of those that departed are HUGE – Gene Cathcart of Jefferson, Jaybo Shaw of Rabun, and Tim Cokely of Rabun.

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

Sid Maxwell – Dawson County Tigers

28 Seasons // 8th Year at Dawson Co

Maxwell enters year eight at Dawson County and 28th season overall as a head coach. His ability to win despite the roster churn is admirable, as is his calming presence. Maxwell is a BLITZ Legendary Coach.

Total Record: 183-111

2021: 7-5 (5-1 7-AAA; Region Runner-Up); 2nd Round

All Stops (3)
Dawson Co: 55-28 (2015-Present [7 years])
Lambert: 31-16 (2009-13 [5 years])
Sequoyah: 97-67 (1994-2008 [15 years])

Playoffs: 18 Appearances (13-18); 2 Quarterfinals Runs [’04, ’15]

Region Titles: 2 [2015; 2003]

All-State Players: 29

Outlook: Maxwell and his 183 wins rank 15th among the active coaches in the state. He’s closing in on 200 wins, which he could reach in two or three more seasons. With a ton of players to replace in the skill positions, it will once again be like watching art as he reconstructs the roster to play around the guys he has. In a new-look 7-AAA, Dawson County does have a shot to be in the mix once again for a region title.

Travis Noland – Jefferson Dragons

18 Seasons in GA (25 Overall) // 1st Year at Jefferson

Noland enters his first year at Jefferson, 18th in the state of Georgia, and 25th overall. He’s a seasoned veteran coach with state title game expectations, as evidenced by his back-to-back finals appearances in 2019 and 2020, coming over from Oconee County.

Total Record: 143-57 in GA; 189-89 overall

2021: 10-2 (4-1 8-AAA; Region Runner-Up); 2nd Rnd *at Oconee County

All Stops (5)
Jefferson: 0-0 (2022-Present [0 years])
Oconee County: 70-27 (2014-21 [8 years])
Stephens County: 73-30 (2005-13 [9 years])
Tuscola (NC): 17-6 (2003-04 [2 years])
Clyde Erwin (NC): 29-26 (1998-02 [5 years])

Playoffs: 16 Appearances [21 Overall] (19-21); 3 Quarterfinals runs in GA & NC [’05, ’19, ’20]; 2 State Championship Appearances [’19, ’20]

Region Titles: 6 [2020, 2019, 2015, 2007, 2006, 2005]

All-State Players: 37

Outlook: Noland’s track record speaks for itself. He’s a winner. Consider 12 straight playoff runs heading into the 2022 season. In fact, in his 24 complete seasons, he’s only missed the playoffs thrice – once in 1998 (his first season) and 2001 (both in North Carolina), and just one time in Georgia in 2009 at Stephens County. With back-to-back state title game runs and three straight 10-win seasons from 2019-2021, he’s at his peak. Just in time to try and get Sammy Brown and the Dragons back to the title game since Jefferson was there a couple years ago.

Wesley Tankersley – Stephens Co Indians

15 Seasons // 5th Year at Stephens Co

Tankersley enters his 15th season overall and fifth at Stephens County. This is HIS team now, and you’re really starting to see the quality program he can run.

Total Record: 84-66

2021: 8-4 (2-3 8-AAAA); 2nd Rnd

All Stops (3)
Stephens Co: 19-22 (2018-Present [4 years])
Ridgeland: 24-10 (2015-17 [3 years])
Gilmer: 41-34 (2008-14 [7 years])

Playoffs: 9 Appearances (4-9)

Region Titles: 2 [2017, 2016]

All-State Players: 22

Outlook: Tankersley has everything set up for this to be THE YEAR. Barring any unforeseen injuries or something crazy happening, he’s got a senior-laden group with some of the state’s most electrifying skill players. Ben Stowe, Cam Lacy, Corey Richie, and Tyson Everett will look to lead a high-flying offense, along with sophomore RB Javin Gordon. The defense is missing a good number of standouts, but still have plenty on that side of the ball that will be really good. This is the season for 10-plus wins, a region title, and a quarterfinal year. All those goals are achievable.

Heath Webb – Lumpkin Co Indians

13 Seasons // 1st Year at Lumpkin Co

This is Webb’s first season at Lumpkin and 13th overall.

Total Record: 61-67

2021: 5-5 (2-4 Region 6-AAAAAAA) *at Gainesville

All Stops (4)
Lumpkin Co: 0-0 (2022-Present [0 years])
Gainesville: 18-25 (2018-2021 [4 years])
Winder-Barrow: 26-19 (2014-2017 [4 years])
North Paulding: 17-23 (2008-2011 [4 years])

Playoffs: 7 Appearances (1-7)

Region Titles: 0

All-State Players: 10

Outlook: Webb takes over a program on the rise at Lumpkin County. Staying for 4 years in each of his last stop, the folks in Dahlonega are hoping this stay is his longest yet. He has the playoff experience, and took his programs to seven straight playoff trips. He’ll have a seasoned group in 2022 to work with, including a senior 3-year starter at QB in Cooper Scott.

Benji Harrison – Habersham Raiders

11 Seasons // 8th Year at Habersham

Harrison enters year 11 overall and 8th season at Habersham Central, where he is now one of the longest-tenured coaches in Habersham history.

Total Record: 39-66

2021: 3-7 (1-5 8-AAAAAA); No Playoffs

All Stops (2)
Habersham Central: 27-46 (2015-Present [7 years])
Jackson Co: 12-20 (2012-14 [3 years])

Playoffs: 4 Appearances (1-4)

Region Titles: 0

All-State Players: 10

Outlook: For the first time in several years, coach Harrison doesn’t have to replace his QB, as Carson Parker enters a junior year with plenty of promise after a year of learning on the job. Star receiver Zeke Whittington has a chance to be something very special. There are certainly some areas that need improved, but with a new-look region, don’t count Habersham out – in fact, we think this is a a playoff team.

Jason Roquemore – Towns Co Indians

11 Seasons // 4th Year at Towns Co

This is Roquemore’s fourth year as head coach at Towns County and 11th overall.

Total Record: 23-76

2021: 4-6 (0-5 8-A); No Playoffs

All Stops (2)
Towns Co: 7-22 (2019-Present [3 years])
Johnson: 16-54 (2012-18 [7 years])

Playoffs: 0

Region Titles: 0

All-State Players: 2

Outlook: Roquemore’s quick start for Towns County generated quite the buzz around Hiawassee. Now as the numbers continue to grow, so do the expectations.

Mark Hollars – Commerce Tigers

7 Seasons // 2nd Year at Commerce

This is Hollars’ second season at Commerce and seventh overall.

Total Record: 36-29

2021: 6-4 (3-2 Region 8-A Pubilc); Rnd 1

All Stops (2)
Commerce: 6-4 (2021-Present [1 year])
North Cobb Christian: 30-25 (2016-2020 [5 years])

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

Region Titles: 0

All-State Players: 5

Outlook: Hollars kept the playoff streak alive for Commerce in a 6-win season. With several key players back, the expectation remains the same…to win.

Michael Perry – Union Co Panthers

6 Seasons // 2nd Year at Union Co

This is Perry’s second year at Union and sixth overall.

Total Record: 24-27

2021: 3-7 (2-2 Region 8-AA); Rnd 1

All Stops (3)
Union Co: 3-7 (2021-Present [1 year])
East Hall: 6-12 (2019-20 [2 years])
Centennial: 15-8 (2017-18 [2 years])

Playoffs: 3 Appearances (1-3)

Region Titles: 0

All-State Players: 2

Outlook: Perry opened his first year with a bit of a rebuild at Union County. That still saw the Panthers get playoff experience, and that will be crucial going into his second season with also having to replace his starting QB. We should naturally see improvement this season.

Jay Reid – Banks Co Leopards

5 Seasons // 5th Year at Banks Co

Reid enters his fifth season at Banks and overall.

Total Record: 10-31

2021: 2-8 (1-3 Region 8-AA); Rnd 1

All Stops (1)
Banks Co: 10-31 (2018-Present [4 years])

Playoffs: 2 Appearances (0-2)

Region Titles: 0

All-State Players: 0

Outlook: Banks County struggled once again with injuries last season. Still, a region win got them into the playoffs. It won’t be easy, but with guys like Andrew Shockley and Caine Griffith back in the fold, Banks County has experience.

Michael Davis – Rabun Co Wildcats

0 Seasons // 1st Year at Rabun Co

Longtime football coach Michael Davis finally gets his first shot as the head coach. He inherits a program that had an elite decade of success.

Total Record: 0-0

2021: N/A

All Stops (1)
Rabun Co: 0-0 (2022-Present [0 years])

Playoffs: N/A

Region Titles: N/A

All-State Players: 0

Outlook: Despite losing over 20 seniors and easily the state’s all-time best QB in Gunner Stockton, Davis still has plenty of weapons in Jaden Gibson, Cory Keller, Lang Windham, Cesar Cruz, Nic Baloga, and transfer QB Keegan Stover to name a few. This team will surprise most who think the program will take a step back. The biggest area that will be felt is on the line, as last year’s trenchmen were unbelievable. Of course, Stockton too has provided shoes that no one can fill alone.

Chad Bennett – White Co Warriors

0 Seasons // 1st Year at White Co

Experienced head coach Chad Bennett gets his first crack at being a head coach. Though it’s his first go-around, he’s familiar to the White County program as he previously was the OC for the team in its most productive offensive seasons in school history.

Total Record: 0-0

2021: N/A

All Stops (1)
White Co: 0-0 (2022-Present [0 years])

Playoffs: N/A

Region Titles: N/A

All-State Players: 0

Outlook: There will be a QB battle with incumbent Tripp Nix and another freshman. There are many players to replace, but lots of returning players as well that make this team a sleeper pick to come out of a tough 7-AAA with a playoff spot. How Bennett changes this offense is going to be something fun to watch.

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