Allatoona builds on breakthrough
by Greg Oshust
goshust@mdjonline.com
May 18, 2011 12:30 AM | 2335 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Just as the case was last year, Miles Jones (7) will likely be the primary target for opposing defenses when they line up against Allatoona in 2011.
<br>Staff file photo
Just as the case was last year, Miles Jones (7) will likely be the primary target for opposing defenses when they line up against Allatoona in 2011.
Staff file photo
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Allatoona is looking forward to building on last year's breakthrough season, in which the Buccaneers clinched their first winning season and first state playoff berth.

They took the first step towards that goal after completing their two-week spring practice last week.

A total of 80 players suited up for Allatoona, which held its spring game last Thursday.

With his team still buzzing over last year's 8-3 record and appearance in the Class AAA state playoffs, where Allatoona lost to St. Pius X 24-17 in the first round, coach Gary Varner said spring practice was a positive first step towards the 2011 season.

"Overall, everything went pretty well," Varner said. "We had good numbers for us and there is still a lot of excitement over last year. Everybody is looking forward to this season."

That's not to say Allatoona didn't have questions to answer. The Buccaneers had to take the first steps towards finding a new starting quarterback to replace Jared Harris, as well as replacing three starters - Scott Lewis, Cameron Sockwell and Dalton Brumfield - on the offensive line.

"We have a lot of key seniors to replace," Varner said. "We have to replace three starters on the offensive line and replace a quarterback, so those are two big things we have to deal with."

Rising seniors Alex Weaver and Zech Hampton and rising junior Jeremy Uzee are the candidates to replace Harris as the Allatoona signal-caller.

The good news for Allatoona is that it returns standout running back Miles Jones, a rising senior who was one of the top rushers in the county with 1,939 yards and 19 touchdowns last year. He was a first-team all-state selection in Class AAA.

Varner was encouraged by the progress he saw from Jones during spring practice.

"Miles had a great year last year and he worked very, very hard," Varner said.

The Buccaneers are also bolstered by the return of eight of its 11 starters on defense, including a strong front line that includes rising seniors Bryson Brindle, Dexter Brandon and Brandon Williams.

"The defensive front is pretty strong," Varner said. "The defense is looking pretty good."

The Allatoona defense is also boosted by the return of cornerback Austin Purvis, a rising senior who missed most of the 2010 season after tearing his ACL in the fourth game of the year.

Getting his team acclimated to a physical style of football was a major objective for Varner during spring practice.

"We wanted this to be a physical and tough spring practice," Varner said. "We want to play that kind of football, so we got a little physical."

Allatoona will begin its summer conditioning program in the first week of June, and the team will also participate in some 7-on-7 passing leagues during the summer.

The Buccaneers will host North Cobb in a preseason scrimmage Aug. 12 before opening the regular season at home Aug. 26 against Kennesaw Mountain.
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