After leading his team to a 5-5 season in 2009, Matt LeZotte was one of the coaches rumored to be up for the open Westside gig. But the former Patriots quarterback decided to remain with the Irish for his second season.
"Aquinas presents a great opportunity for me," LeZotte said. "While we're at Aquinas we can make some new changes."
The school already is making improvements. Parts of the football field have been resodded. Also, the school is renovating its weight room and locker room and is building new coaches' offices. LeZotte said he'd also like to see the football stadium get new lights.
"It creates a sense of pride," he said about the facility's betterment. "When guys have nice things, they appreciate it."
Another change at Aquinas is the addition of former head coach Jim Connor and former longtime Evans assistant Durward Sauls.
With the addition of Connor, who led the Irish for four seasons, and Sauls, LeZotte brings in two quality hires. Connor will coach the offensive linemen, while Sauls will coach the defensive linemen and linebackers.
"They've gotten on board and have helped tremendously," LeZotte said. "They bring the one thing you can't teach -- experience."
NAME TAGS: With the departure of Connor and Sauls to Aquinas, Evans head coach Marty Jackson hired former Knights Brad Freeman and Jay Acree , along with veteran assistant Marvin Marshall .
"We're bringing in some experience," Jackson said. "And we've got some young guys being thrown to the wolves."
Also at Evans, alumnus Cliff Hancock was primed to help with the offensive line. Before he got a chance to work with the team, Hancock was shipped off to Afghanistan.
"I told him to stay low," joked Jackson, who plans to have Hancock back for next season.
KICK OUT THE JAMS: The eight-team Aiken County Jamboree will be held at 7:30 Friday night at Midland Valley. Teams will play an 18-minute quarter, with each team starting at the 30-yard line. Cost is $6.
Ridge Spring-Monetta will face South Aiken in the first quarter, while defending Class A champion Williston-Elko will meet Aiken in the second quarter. Silver Bluff and North Augusta will square off in the third quarter, while Midland Valley and Wagener-Salley face off in the nightcap.
- Augusta Prep, Curtis Baptist and Westminster are participating in a four-team jamboree at 6 p.m. Thursday at Augusta Christian. Cost is $3, with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society.
INJURY UPDATE: Strom Thurmond senior running back/linebacker Tony Stepney tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the off-season and has already had surgery.
Rebels coach Lee Sawyer said if Stepney returns this season, it will likely be for the third round of the state playoffs.
ALMOST READY: At Richmond Academy, the school's practice field is mere weeks from being available. The field was sodded in late July.
Last summer, the school had its track and practice field renovated. The Musketeers were forced to practice on their baseball field all of last season.
SPREAD 'EM: Silver Bluff fans expecting to see the typical Wing-T offense this year will be in for a surprise.
Bulldogs coach Al Lown is scrapping his long-time offense completely for the spread attack, with quarterback Cordrea Tankersley at the helm. Silver Bluff ran the spread some last year, but the team is fully committed to it this year.
"It'll be a little bit of a shock for the Silver Bluff fans," Lown said. "The spread matches up with our personnel better."
WE'RE NO. HUH? The Georgia High School Football newsletter released the Massey ratings for the five classes in Georgia.
The computer model, one of six helped to pick the Bowl Championship Series national champion, placed only two local teams in the top 10 (Jefferson County is No. 9 in Class AA, while Lincoln County is No. 9 in Class A).