Brett Fowler Column Mug Teaser

For those of you who enjoy good quality sports coverage as much as I do, you really need to check out The Athletic.

It’s a subscription-based sports news outlet that covers pretty much every major sport in the U.S. As I was reading the other day, I came across an interesting article in the college football section on who would take over this season should a head coach be forced to quarantine for two weeks due to COVID-19.

With most college programs there isn’t necessarily a clear-cut answer, as evident by the many guesses in The Athletic’s article. Case and point is UGA. Should

Kirby Smart be forced to quarantine for two weeks, would running backs coach Dell McGhee, who’s typically the one in charge when Smart isn’t around, take over? Or would defensive coordinator Dan Lanning?

But it got me thinking about such a scenario happening at a more local level with one of our high school football teams in Walton County. It’s not a reach to say it could happen in the first few weeks of the season considering we’ve already had half of our local teams have at least one confirmed case involving a player or coach.

If a staff has an ex-head coach, that might be the logical choice. Tapping either the offensive or defensive coordinator is also a logical choice for local teams.

For purely thought-provoking purposes, here’s my best guess on where each local team would turn should their head coach have to miss a game.

George Walton: The obvious choice to fill in for head coach Shane Davis is the man who led the Bulldogs for 25 years and has his name on the stadium. Don Williams is still on GWA’s football staff and could absolutely fill in for a game or two should Davis need to be quarantined. Another solid and logical choice would be athletic director and defensive line coach Mark Whitley.

Loganville Christian: I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about Tim Wellmaker’s first coaching staff at LCA yet, but Chris Cotter is the coach I would have to think would step in should Wellmaker contract COVID-19. Cotter has over 30 years of coaching experience and spent three seasons as the head coach at Riverside Military Academy. He originally came to Georgia to coach linebackers as a part of Mickey Conn’s staff at Grayson.

Loganville: Ryan Angel is Loganville’s defensive coordinator. He also happens to be the head wrestling coach at Loganville. Angel wouldn’t have any problems stepping up to fill in for Brad Smith if needed to hold things down for a week or two.

Another possible choice is offensive coordinator Zach Gordon. Gordon spent time as a student assistant at Wake Forrest after playing tight end for the Demon Deacons. While relatively young, at just 26, Gordon is a bright young offensive mind who will wind up being a head coach someday.

Monroe Area: My best guess at who would take over in the event coach Kevin Reach was quarantined is offensive coordinator Jason Connor. Connor was the head coach at Duluth in 2013 and 2014 and has coached under both Reach and legendary high school coach T. McFerrin.

Social Circle: Defensive coordinator Nate Ethridge is a guy whom head coach Rob Patton has a lot of trust. Ethridge was the head wrestling coach at Collins Hill before following Patton to Social Circle, but he also has over a decade of experience as a defensive coordinator in Michigan. Offensive coordinator Jimmy Jarrett, formerly the offensive coordinator at Loganville, could also take over the reins if Patton were out of commission for a week.

Walnut Grove: Robert Andrews’ staff has been together for a long time. Many of them coached together at Grayson under Conn, but my best guess at who would fill in for Andrews is co-offensive coordinator Lance Fendley. Fendley was the head coach at Bethlehem Christian Academy for six seasons before joining Andrews’ staff last season.

Brett Fowler is the sports editor of The Walton Tribune. He is a 2016 graduate of the University of North Georgia and a 2010 graduate of Monroe Area High School. Brett has been covering Walton County sports since 2011.

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