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Skilled George County looks to break through in ‘16

The 2016 George County football team is in the hunt for its first playoff bid since 2010.
The 2016 George County football team is in the hunt for its first playoff bid since 2010. amccoy@sunherald.com

The George County High School football team flirted with putting together a special season in 2015, but turnovers and poor luck contributed to some stumbles down the stretch.

With many of the key players back from last year’s squad that finished 6-5, a talented group of seniors provides hope of fulfilling the potential many saw during a 4-0 start in 2015 that included wins over Class 6A South State champion Petal and Pascagoula.

There will be one big difference for George County this season on the sideline: Matt Caldwell has replaced John Douglass as the head coach.

Caldwell, who went 41-13 in four seasons at Taylorsville, makes the jump from Class 2A to Class 6A, taking over a program that returns plenty of experience at the most important positions on offense.

“I think we’re pretty good at the skill positions, receiver and quarterback,” Caldwell said. “They’ve played a lot of games, but we only have one starter back on the offensive line (senior guard Nathaniel Hembree). Those guys will have to grow up in a hurry for us.”

Senior LaRaymond Spivery returns as the starting quarterback after showing great promise as a dual-threat player in his first year as the starter, throwing for 17 touchdowns and running for 17. He completed 69.1 percent of his passes for 2,273 yards a year ago and will look to improve on his 15 interceptions this season.

Spivery, who will run a spread offense, was the team’s second-leading rusher with 135 carries for 896 yards.

It’s in the passing game where George County has a chance to be among the better Class 6A teams in the state when you consider that Spivery will be throwing to two of the better receiving options on the Coast – Six-foot-2, 195-pound senior Tyrese Fryfogle and 6-2, 233-pound senior Dwan Williams.

Fryfogle, who holds scholarship offers from Ole Miss and Idaho, is coming off an outstanding junior campaign that featured 52 catches for 919 yards and eight touchdowns. Williams, who has the ability to run over defenders, caught 59 passes of 772 yards and six scores.

Senior Fisher Ray and junior Jordan Ladner will also see time at receiver.

Fryfogle feels good about the chemistry that Spivery has with his recevers.

“(Spivery) has gotten a lot better,” Fryfogle said. “He’s always been good at running the ball. At passing the ball, he’s becoming a better quarterback.”

George County will have to replace Khalil Burns, who rushed for 1,034 yards, at running back and senior Kaleb Gentry may be the answer there after getting only a handful of carries at fullback a season ago.

Fryfogle and Spivery should also see time on defense in the secondary, but Caldwell expects three returners to hold leadership roles on the defense – senior middle linebacker Cole Contestabile, senior strong safety J.J. Lawrence and 6-foot-1, 245-pound defensive tackle Justice Havens.

Contestabile stands 5-foot-11, 215 pounds, and is the team’s top tackler from a year ago with 91.

Havens, a senior, accounted for 47 tackles and a team high of 3.5 sacks. Lawrence registered 54 tackles and an interception.

Junior linebacker Austin Walker, who is listed at 6-foot, 200 pounds, is also a returning starter for George County.

“We’re going to develop some depth in the secondary,” Caldwell said. “We’re inexperienced there. Tyrese and LaRaymond will have to help in the secondary.”

George County has a chance to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2010, but a difficult Region 4-6A awaits.

“We’re going to have to avoid the injury bug,” Caldwell said. “I feel OK with the team. We have a chance. If everything comes together, we have a chance to have a good football team.”

At a glance

2016 record: 6-5

Region: Region 4-6A

Head coach: Matt Caldwell

Assistant coaches: James Ray, Michael King, Rotch Dungan, Brittain Dean, Blake Chancelor, Johnny Rogers, Don Nelson, Ron Renfroe, Kenneth Burns.

Offense: Spread

Defense: 4-3

2016 schedule

Aug. 19

GAUTIER

Aug. 26

GREENE COUNTY

Sept. 2

At Petal

Sept. 9

At Pascagoula

Sept. 16

Open

Sept. 23

HARRISON

CENTRAL

Sept. 30

At Gulfport

Oct. 7

D’IBERVILLE

Oct. 14

At Ocean Springs

Oct. 21

BILOXI

Oct. 28

At St. Martin

Nov. 4

At Hancock

2016 roster

1 Ron Miller

2 Jorden Ladner

3 Tyrese Fryfogle

4 Fisher Ray

5 Jamar Jackson

6 Daquone Brown

8 Jakob Green

9 George Johnson

10 Wesley McDonald

11 Dylan Lawrence

13 Ja’vion Riley

14 Luke Thompson

15 D’wan Williams

16 LaRaymond Spivery

17 Paul Henderson

18 Logan Tanner

19 Austin Walker

20 Paul Adams

22 Donterrius Sinclair

23 Kalen Gentry

24 Garrett Cooley

25 Jace Hartfield

26 Justice Holifield

27 Jackson Slay

29 Dakota Howard

30 Joel Mallette

31 Eren Welford

32 Brandon McDonald

33 Cole Contestable

35 Garrett White

36 Dale Pardue

37 Ashton Schultz

39 David Nicholas

40 Drew Rose

42 James Terry

43 Weston Breland

44 McKinnley Jackson

45 Andrew Peltier

46 Ryan Steede

48 Peyton Colburn

49 Jay Scarbrough

50 Justice Havens

51 Devayne Smith

52 Mason Herrington

53 Nathaniel Hembree

54 Brad Walley

55 Logan Howell

56 Quinn Shoemaker

58 Tate Cochran

59 Destin Cauley

60 Byron Henderson

61 Kyle Nelson

62 Tommy Eiland

63 Cade Turner

64 Caleb Hately

65 Trevor Slater

68 Abe Havard

69 Connor Daley

70 Will Chisolm

72 Kody McCraney

73 Wyatt Chipley

74 Chandler Hall

76 Keaton Walley

77 Micah McKenzie

78 David Lara

79 Henry Penton

80 Delynn Livingston

82 Bryan Bolton

83 Cade Caldwell

84 Jermaine Lawrence

85 Treonte Jackson

88 Conner Blackwell

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