'Canes focused on state title run in 2015

Cartersville High School head coach, Joey King, begins his second season at the helm of the Purple Hurricanes and returns one of the most talented rosters in Georgia. The former quarterback at Cedartown High School and Carson-Newman University guided Cartersville to a 12-2 mark and a state semifinal appearance in his first season as head coach.

He now says his program is squarely focused on the biggest prize.

“We’re focused on winning a state championship. We talk about it every day and about giving a state championship effort in everything we do,” said King.

“If we take care of our work ethic in the weight room and on the field; take pride in our preparation and effort, and treat this community well and act the right way, then Friday nights will come easy,” King continued.

A former assistant at Jacksonville State University and Sonoraville High School prior to six seasons (four as offensive coordinator) at Carrollton High School, King has transitioned quickly and smoothly to being a head coach.

“It has been pretty much what I expected,” he said. “I really paid attention when I was an assistant. I knew from the beginning I wanted to be a head football coach and tried to prepare myself from day one to be able to make the decisions that come with the position,” pointed out King.

King also believes the similarities between Carrollton and Cartersville helped in his upward move. “Cartersville and Carrollton both emphasize academics, athletics, and the arts. They are very similar in tradition and the level of expectations. I believe the potential at Cartersville is what sets it apart. The growth the community is experiencing now and the commitment to excellence makes this a special place,” added coach King. “I’m truly blessed to be the coach at Cartersville High School. My family and I feel blessed to be a part of this great community,” he said. The ‘Canes return five starters on defense and six on offense. Among those are three highly touted individuals. Tight end Miller Forristall (6-5, 215, Sr.), who has committed to Alabama, inside linebacker Tyler Reed (6-1 1/2, 230, Sr.), and quarterback Trevor Lawrence (6-5, 190, Soph.) who has received offers from more than a dozen major powers, each return as leaders from a year ago. Lawrence was recently identified by 247Sports as the nation’s top recruit for the Class of 2018 and has attracted a bevy of media visits to recent ‘Canes workouts and practices.

“A lot of the attention those guys are receiving is the result of a team effort,” King pointed out. “We want our kids to understand that the attention is really about everyone. Accolades for individuals are nice, but they are always better when the team does well,” noted the coach.

“Just in recent days, we’ve seen people from Army All-American, 247 Sports, scout.com, and several others. There has been a lot of attention and media, but that brings positive attention to our entire program.”

On defense, the Hurricanes return Xavier Coaxum, Reed, Tiamon Pennymon, Kobie Whitfield, and Austin Davis. “Coaxum might be the smallest guy on the field, but he’s a really good football player,” said King. “Reed and Pennymon are probably the best combination of linebackers in the state of Georgia and Davis has great range and speed.” “We have to replace our defensive line”, noted coach King, “but Brandon Wade returns and he was in that mix last year.”

The ‘Canes return starters Parker Roberson and Cam Cheek on the offensive line. Lawrence is back as the signal caller, along with Pennymon and Trey Creamer in the backfield. Terrius Callahan, Tony Dean, and Forristall return to anchor a talented receiving corp. “Those three receivers are some of the hardest working guys I’ve ever seen,” King said.

Pennymon and Creamer are expected to see playing time on both offense and defense, along with Antoine Jefferson who is returning from injury. The Hurricanes will even feature the two running backs in the backfield together at times. “Some people call them our ‘Thunder’ and ‘Lightning’,” said King, referring to Pennymon and Creamer. “They make a dangerous combination back there.” King’s offenses when coordinator at Carrollton may have been more run oriented, but at Cartersville, he seeks more balance. “We want to be balanced between run and pass. I think it’s more difficult for defenses to prepare for us if we’re close to 50-50.”

The ‘Canes began preparations for the 2015 season almost immediately after their state semifinal loss to Buford last year. Coach King is happy with the work of his troops in the off-season and this summer. “We are actually ahead of where we were at this point last year with our weight room, speed, and agility numbers. Our guys have put in a tremendous amount of work this off-season to get ready and have really bought into our strength and conditioning program,” added King.

Cartersville will scrimmage at Woodland August 14 and the ‘Canes season opener will be at Cass August 28. Cartersville then has home games against North Cobb and North Paulding prior to beginning their region slate. “Playing Cass, North Paulding, and North Cobb before we start the region schedule gives us a playoff type atmosphere each time. Those games really help us prepare,” added the coach.

The Hurricanes region schedule includes home games against Gilmer (Sept. 25), Northwest Whitfield (Oct. 16), and LaFayette (Oct. 30). Cartersville’s Region 7-AAAA road games in 2015 are at Heritage-Catoosa (Oct. 2), at Ridgeland (Oct. 9), at Southeast Whitfield (Oct. 23) and at Pickens (Nov. 6).

“We have to stay focused during our region schedule and make sure we are continuing to get better each week,” coach King added.

Fans may listen to high school football coverage live on your computer, on your mobile device, and on your radio this season via Bartow Sports Zone and AM1270 WYXC Cartersville. On this site, just use the menu at the top of the page to select ‘Football Broadcasts.’ Then click the play button on the screen at the WYXC TuneIn logo. That will connect you with our radio partner AM1270 WYXC Cartersville. The broadcast schedule includes games involving all four Cartersville and Bartow County football schools — Adairsville, Cartersville, Cass, and Woodland. The broadcast schedule opens with Adairsville at Ridgeland (August 21), Woodland at Adairsville (August 27), and Cartersville at Cass (August 28). In all, BSZ and WYXC will have live broadcasts of 13 regular season games. Bartow Sports Zone and AM1270 WYXC will also broadcast a Friday morning (7am to 8am) coaches show throughout the entire high school season and through the playoffs. Head coaches from all four local programs are regularly scheduled guests on the show hosted by Charles Wilson and Jason Greenberg of The Daily Tribune News. Replays of the weekly show are also available on the top menu of www.bartowsportszone.com . Wilson will also perform the play-by-play duties on the game broadcasts with coverage beginning each game at 7pm.

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