State of the Program: George Walton Academy Football

George Walton’s Laythan Folgman will be one of the seniors Bulldogs’ head coach Logan Beer looks towards to help provide stability for a program that had a rocky offseason.

Editor's Note: Now that spring football practice has concluded, local football players are currently hard at work in the weight room and on the practice field preparing for the upcoming season. Each week during the summer, The Walton Tribune will take an in depth look at the state of each local football program heading into the 2021 season.

It was a rocky offseason to say the least for the George Walton Academy football program.

Shane Davis, the program’s popular and successful head coach, resigned following a bizarre string of events which have yet to be fully explained. They likely never will be.

After guiding the Bulldogs to the state playoffs and a top 10 ranking in the final GHSA Class A-private standings, Davis was reportedly suspended as head coach and later resigned. It was a stunning development for the man who was Walton County Coach of the Year for the 2020 season. 

Then word of the head coach being suspended broke. This was later following by a press release about irregularities within the athletic program. An online petition was started in support of Davis.

The team’s starting quarterback for the 2020 season transferred to Loganville High School after his coach’s resignation. More recently, GWA officials parted ways with the school’s headmaster who seemingly clashed with Davis concerning the program’s direction.

School officials would hire Logan Beer, who had coached at Mount Paran for eight seasons. During his time with the Mount Paran program, Beer was assistant athletic director, offensive coordinator, quarterbacks and running backs coach.

Now he has added head coach to his resume as he prepares for the 2021 season at GWA. Despite everything that happened prior to his arrival, Beer said he has stayed positive with his players and they have responded.

“This was not a broken program by any means,” Beer said. “They are coming off a successful state playoff season. We are looking to build on that.”

Spring practice was used to implement Beer’s offensive scheme of which he terms a “hybrid single wing.” The Bulldogs ran the option under Davis.  

“We focused a good bit of spring on getting our new offense in,” Beer said. “We had eight good days of work. We were able to get some things established.”

Since June workouts began, the players have continued with weight training and overall football preparation.

“In working for the new season, I have remained very positive,” Beer said. “I believe strong character is what develops a successful team.”

Moving from an assistant to a head coach has, to this point, not been a big adjustment for the new GWA mentor. Beer said he has been fortunate to learn from some quality head coaches in his career. 

“I have tried to prepare myself for this opportunity,” Beer said. “I have certainly been welcomed into the George Walton family. My family and I have moved here and are settling into the community.”

The Bulldogs will continue their summer work with upcoming 7-on-7 events.

The GWA coaching staff remains mainly the same for the upcoming season with Don Williams (wide receivers/running backs), Carter Smith (offensive line), Mark Whitley (defensive line), Billy Ray Bowers (defensive coordinator and linebackers) and Derek Hill (defensive backs).

The new season begins Aug. 20 against Social Circle High School on the road.

Correspondent

Chris Bridges is a columnist and former sports editor for The Walton Tribune.

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