Kegler, Tigers look to continue winning ways at Carver

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For the last seven years, Carver-Columbus has been one of the most consistent teams in the state. Under former head coach Dell McGee, the Tigers have averaged an 11-2 record since he started in 2005. McGee also recorded six straight region titles and one state title in 2007.


But McGee is no longer with Carver because he took a job at Auburn. But the wins should continue to keep coming for the No. 4 Tigers because McGee’s top assistant coach, Joe Kegler, is now at the helm.


And while he wants bring in his own philosophy at Carver, he is not going to change the principles established by McGee.


“We are going to keep almost everything the same,” said Kegler. “I’m going to try to put my stamp on things, but Dell did a great job. So we’re going to keep the majority of things the same.”


Like last season, the Tigers will run a spread formation on offense and a 3-4 on defense. However, the Tigers did lose a few key players from last season including QB Torrance McGee and WR Marqui Hawkins. McGee transferred to North Cobb while Hawkins signed to play at the University of Florida.


But the reason Carver was a consistent team during the McGee era is the fact the Tigers always reloaded. QB Jawon Pass, who is only a sophomore, will take over at the starting quarterback position. He saw limited time as a freshman, but that hasn’t stopped colleges from taking a look at him as he picked up an offer from North Carolina in March.


RB Noah Hickey is another player to watch on offense. Hickey is a smaller back, but has speed and can break tackles. He will be a big factor in the offense as Pass gets more comfortable with the system.


The one thing that does concern Kegler is the offense line. Kegler said that the Tigers have to replace three starters and that will be something the team focuses on during summer camp.


On the other side, Kegler does like his defense, especially the front seven. Leading the unit is DE Mekhi Brown who is an Alabama commit. Brown, a four-star player according to 24-7 Sports, notched 37 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles last season as a sophomore. He has also picked up an invitation to the Under Armor All-American football game in 2015.


Two other players to watch for on defense are LB Niemus Bryant and LB/S Tim Whatley. Bryant has committed to Georgia State while Whatley has gotten offers from Duke and East Carolina.


There is no question the Tigers have the ability to make a run at the state title. But Kegler knows that this team has a lot of work to do between now and Aug. 30 when the Tigers start the season against Spencer.


“We have to keep working to get better,” Kegler said. “We have to take it one day at a time.”


The schedule plays no favors for the Tigers this season. On Sept. 19, Carver will travel to Colquitt County to take on the Packers. The following week, the Tigers will play another AAAAAA school, Tri-Cities, in a home contest. Later in the season, the Tigers will take on Peach County which is always an evenly contested matchup.


Based on their track record, the Tigers will be a favorite to win another region title. But more has to be done in order for them to take the next step.


“We have got to be consistent,” Kelger said. “Great teams don’t always play great, but they are always consistent. We can’t be up and down.”




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