Poor Social Circle. It just can’t catch a break.
Just when it looked like the Redskins were poised for a breakthrough season on the gridiron, fate might intervene to derail everything. If the pandemic forces the prep football season to be canceled or even curtailed, Social Circle may be the area’s biggest loser.
Over the years, I’ve made the mistake of being overly bullish when it comes to Social Circle football. I’ve bought into the hype, predicting winning seasons and maybe even a long-awaited postseason appearance, only to watch its stock crash and burn.
But given recent changes, both by the school and the Georgia High School Association, and the expected return of an exciting roster of players, I find myself high on the Redskins again.
First off, they have a new man at the top, which hardly seems like breaking news given the program’s history of a revolving door the position. Before previous head coach Chad Estes arrived and hung around for six seasons, the Redskins had been through four head coaches in eight seasons.
That being said, Robert Patton appears to be an impressive hire. A long-time defensive coordinator at both Grayson and Collins Hill, he’s paid his dues en route to a well-deserved head coaching position.
He’ll need to navigate the cultural shock of going from coaching at mega-schools (Class AAAAAAA) to one that’s now been grouped among the smallest (Class A). He’ll have less than half the number of players to field a team and will quickly become acquainted with two-platooning and sharing athletes with other sports teams.
But he’s brought on an impressive list of assistants.
Coming with him from Collins Hill is Nate Ethridge, who’ll serve as defensive coordinator. A hard-nosed, no-nonsense guy, he was the Eagles wrestling coach, leading them to a traditional state title this year.
His biggest contribution, besides building a stingy defense, just might be convincing some of the Redskins wrestlers to give football a try.
On the other side of the ball, Patton just hired Jimmy Jarrett as offensive coordinator. It’s his third such gig in the county, having held the same position at George Walton and, more recently, Loganville.
He’s a proponent of the spread offense and I expect he’ll try it with the Redskins. Certainly, he’ll have plenty of weapons.
Despite its dismal record last year, Social Circle featured some of the county’s most exciting and productive players, most of whom are expected back. The Redskins ended the season with the county’s top receiver (Eric Taylor), second-best quarterback in passing yards (Logan Cross), and third-leading rusher (Amarian Russell).
They’ll have a chance to improve their numbers against what could be less daunting completion as the Redskins dropped from Class AA to Class A during the GHSA’s recent reclassification.
Clearly, the Redskins have all the pieces in place for an outstanding season. Here’s hoping they have a chance to show out on the field.