The Bremen High School football coach will guide his troops into their first Region 5-AA contest when Chattahoochee County comes to Bremen Athletic Field for the 7:30 p.m. kickoff, embarking on a new era for the Blue Devils.
“I think we’re headed in the right direction — no ifs, ands or buts. We’re focused now on our first double-A region game in school history. We’ve had a good week of practice. It’s been a little bit up and down. We’ve kind of had a little bit of an emotional roller-coaster. But I think we’ve got our feet back under us, licked a few wounds,” Tolleson said.
The Blue Devils (1-1) are fresh off an emotional, 34-28 setback to Central last week, and Tolleson said the team has focused on ironing out a few issues on the defensive side of the ball and executing better offensively this week.
The Panthers are a relatively new program — they played their first season in 2006 — and at 2-0, they’ve already matched last season’s win total under second-year coach Russell Morgan, who reached the Class A state championship game back in 2005 at Washington-Wilkes, beating a pair of his new Region 5-AA foes in Temple and Bowdon during that particular playoff run.
Chattahoochee County has used an explosive offensive attack early on in the year, averaging 43 points per game behind star quarterback Chris Askew. The Panther signal-caller rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown and was 11-of-13 through the air for 210 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s 36-34 victory over Terrell County, including running in the two-point conversion with 28 seconds left to break a 34-all tie.
“They’ve got a quarterback that’s a game-ticker. His motor, it really runs. He’s very elusive. He throws the ball well and runs the ball well. He’s one of those that if you flush out of the pocket, he can go the distance. But their offensive line is very big, they’ve got some very skilled receivers and the tight end is very good,” Tolleson said.
“Anytime people are putting up those kind of numbers — no matter who you’re playing — if you’re putting up those kind of numbers, they know how to score. We can very well see on film, they’re very, very athletic. Sometimes that causes us some problems. We just have to do what we do.”
Defensively, the Panthers base out of a 5-3 and Tolleson said they like to blitz and move around and try to confuse assignments.
“They’re big, they’re fast. I’ve probably made this statement before, but we can’t see over them and we can’t see around them. They’re just tremendously big and they possess a lot of speed,” Tolleson said.
And with the first Region 5-AA game in program history now just a day away, the Bremen coach is looking forward to starting the long march toward the postseason.
“This is what puts you in line for the playoffs. I think our kids are looking forward to it. This could be a first for them. They can go down in the history books as the first win in double-A. We’ve challenged our defense. We felt like we should have played better last week. We didn’t until later in the game. So we’ve challenged our defense and we’ve asked our offense to execute much better than we have,” Tolleson said.
“But being that first home region game and having the opportunity to make a little history ... we’re looking forward to that.”