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High School football previews from north Georgia

The Ringgold Tigers run through linebacker drills at Wednesday morning's practice. Photo: WTVC

It's the doldrums of summer, but high school teams are takings steps for success right now.

NewsChannel 9 Sports takes a look at some north Georgia teams prepping for the upcoming season.

Dalton, who had a great season last year, has been dealt a severe blow.

The Ringgold Tigers were on the football field Wednesday morning.

They want to improve greatly on last year's season, which ended with no trip to the playoffs.

Coach Robert Akins said, "It was kind of embarrassing last year. We thought we had more talent than a 5-5 season. The leadership with these seniors, the peer leadership, we're hoping they can go in and keep all the kids motivated."

Left tackle Samuel Akers sees a need for more unity. "We just gotta stay focused instead of people having or trying to do their own thing, gotta work as a team," Akers said.

Senior Noah Keaton transferred from nearby Heritage high school.

The linebacker likes his teammates and coaches. "We've got a lot of good leaders on this team. We've got a lot of offensive players that have played defense this year that have stepped up," Keaton said.

High school football followers would have to look hard to find a team that is facing more challenges than the Catamounts.

They lost 19 starters, then the Cats found out, just last week, that their starting quarterback will not be coming back.

Senior J.P. Tighe elected to play baseball only.

Remember last year, the Catamounts made it all the way to the semifinals before losing to legendary Valdosta.

They had dynamic playmakers, all college bound, like Ahmad Tanner, Kyric McGowan and Zeke Cobb.

So how will Dalton deal with such loss?

Coach Matt Land said, with a smile, "You pray a lot."

Land knows replacing such a talented team will test his coaching staff and his players. "I think the challenge we have as coaches right now is first of all a little bit of change in our offense is finding out what doesn't work, then finding what does work."

Down the road in Calhoun, the Yellowjackets lost some key players.

They lost three games last year, but that was to Dalton and two eventual state champions.

Coach Hal Lamb likes where the 2017 squad stands.

Lamb said, "To me, it's a little easier to be a leader when you're playing a lot, so I feel good about our leadership in this year's senior class."

Over the coming weeks, NewsChannel 9 Sports will be dropping in at several area schools.

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