But after the all-state tailback transferred to Villa Rica coming off a 1,451-yard and 17 touchdown campaign, it created a void for sixth-year Tiger coach Seth Rogers to fill this fall.
And Rogers certainly doesn’t expect one guy to pick up all that slack by himself, but he is confident his group of skill players can do so as a collective unit with the offense shifting from an I-formation to what the Temple coach labeled a “hybrid Wing-T.”
“You know, we’re not a traditional wing team, but we’ll do some things throwing the ball and running the ball to make it a little different. We’ll see. We’re excited about it and I think we can have some success. At the same time, we’re getting kids involved that might not have been involved before,” Rogers said.
And with weapons in the backfield such as seniors Myles Simmons, Kordell Parson, Montagus Person and Isaiah Strozier, along with a tall and athletic frame on the perimeter in senior Trevor Shell, the Tigers definitely have the personnel where defenses can’t just key on one guy anymore.
“Anytime you lose a kid that was almost a 1,500-yard rusher, you’ve got to replace that somehow. But if you have four or five kids that rush for 400 or 500 yards — Carrollton does it every year, they have several kids contribute in their offense — and that’s what we want to try to get to,” Rogers said. “We don’t want somebody that defensively they can just sit and key on one kid. Hopefully, we’re going to set this thing up to where all those kids will be able to contribute and on any given Friday night any of them can be the hero.”
Simmons said he’s looking forward to being more of an open offense in making the transition from quarterback to the backfield.
“I think we’re going to move forward from just a one-man attack. Everybody is going to get more reps and everybody is going to do their thing to help us win,” Simmons said. “I think it’s been really good. We’re starting to come together as one team and communicating more. I think we’re going to do it this year.”
Parson echoed that sentiment and is excited about how things are playing out as the Tigers prepare for the Aug. 24 season opener at Walker.
“It’s not a one-man team anymore. Everybody is coming together. Positions are being moved for the better of the team. So I’m looking forward to getting better and playing more than one game in the playoffs,” Parson said.
Coming off a historic season in 2011 that saw the Tigers finish 6-5 — the first winning campaign in program history — the Tigers are hungry for bigger and better things this fall.
“We’ve all got a winning spirit now. Everybody is trying to do their best and everybody is trying to work hard to get back to where we were,” Shell said. “We’ve got to do more than we did last year. We’ve got to work harder, we’ve got to run faster and we’ve got to get stronger.”
And going up against a perennial power in Buford in the opening round of the postseason proved to be a great experience for the returning players in getting a taste of big-time playoff football.
“Yeah, we learned. We learned big-time. We learned not to be scared to hit nobody. We learned you can’t be scared of your opponent or who you play,” Person said. “It just made us stronger.”
Strength in numbers will be the mantra for the Tiger offense this fall and it’s something Rogers is excited about in seeing who steps up and takes charge every Friday night.
“As a group, it’s just been a lot of fun to coach those guys. We’ve got a good group of kids that work hard. I can’t just signal out one kid that I can sit here and say, ‘He’s going to be a 1,000-yard rusher.’ But that’s the fun part about it,” Rogers said. “I think they’ll all be able to contribute on Friday night and I think they all bring a little something different to the table.”