Originally created 08/25/06

Season Preview: Washington-Wilkes

Head coach: Russell Morgan (Fifth year)

Classification: GHSA 8A-AA

2005 record: 12-3

Four-year record (since 2002): 32-17-1

Last playoff appearance: 2005

Returning starters: 7 offense, 3 defense

Key Tigers: Senior DB/RB Kelmetrus Wylie (6-0, 205); Senior DB Gary Wilburn (5-10, 185); Senior QB Clete Wilson (6-4, 205); Senior C Quarica Smith (5-10, 225); Senior LB Demont Gresham (5-9, 215)

Offensive attack: Wilson comes back to lead the team, along with Wylie, who was the team's leading rusher before a season-ending ankle injury in Week 9. Sophomore OL Tyrece Ashmore (6-2, 335) started the state semifinal and championship games last season.

Defensive keys: The Tigers are loaded at defensive back, with Wylie, Wilburn and senior Jay Small (5-9, 170) returning. Gresham, the team's leading tackler before suffering a season-ending knee injury in Week 9, returns to head the linebacking corps.

Thin at: Linebacker

Big game: At Lincoln County, Sept. 15

Different this year: Washington-Wilkes has eight holes to fill on defense. The Tigers have a slew of capable seniors, but they need to mix in some of the 41 underclassmen as well.

Could go bad if: Defense fails to step up immediately, especially with Washington-Wilkes jumping up in classification.

Great year if: Another trip to the Georgia Dome would validate this senior class. If Wylie and Wilson have big years, it could happen.


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