2018 Record: 4-6, overall (3-5, REGION 6 AAA)
Head Coach: Eric Bishop 41-26, 6 seasons as Adairsville Head Coach
All Time Record: 663 games 360 – 292 – 11(55%)
Total Seasons: 64 First Season: 1956 All State Players: 61
Region Championships: 8 (Last in 2001)
State Championships: 0
8.23 at Chattooga
8.30 vs Cass
9.13 at Coahulla Creek
9.20 vs Haralson County
9.27 at North Murray
10.4 vs Lakeview Ft.-Oglethorpe
10.11 at Calhoun
10.18 vs Sonoraville
10.25 at Murray County
11.1 vs Ringgold
If the Adairsville Tigers’ 2018 season had a title, it would have been called “The Teenage Infirmary,” as the Tigers had an injury-riddled season that stifled their goals. Seven Tigers had knee injuries requiring surgery; there was a broken wrist and broken thumb, as well. Adding insult to the injuries, all of those injuries were to starting players. The Tigers did not play the first six games with the same five offensive linemen in any two consecutive games. Through it all, Adairsville fielded a competitive team.
The Tigers have had a great offseason, with attendance staying strong throughout summer weight training and conditioning. Even with construction at the stadium, with the installation of new turf and a new track, everyone has responded well and made the necessary adjustments. On top of that, Coach Eric Bishop was given the opportunity to send some of his linemen to the Camp of Champions Lineman camp this summer, a first for the school.
On offense, Adairsville will have Conner Crunkleton (junior) at quarterback. He is a first-time starting quarterback, although he did see time on the field last season. Crunkleton has progressed in learning the offense and has an understanding of what is asked of him in the offense. Coach Bishop says, “He’s getting on the same page as the coaches, to the point where he can nearly finish a play call for you. He’s ahead of the curve for a guy who has never started.”
Adairsville runs the zone triple option. Different guys will play the pistol back position, two such guys being Eli Agnew (sophomore) and Jamari Johnson (junior).
Two players to watch on defense this year will be senior linebacker Malachi Gardner, a tall, long-legged kid with good speed, who boasts a 3.8 GPA with all AP and honors classes. The Tigers’ other is safety is Savaun Henderson (senior), who is a 3.7 GPA student. Both athletes are being recruited for the next level.
On special teams, Manual Lopez will be the returning kicker and punter who is capable of hitting 50 and 60-yard field goals and touchbacks on kickoffs.
The Tiger’s Football Program incorporates ninth grade and junior varsity teams, which is something Coach Bishop enjoys.
“Those kids getting to play those extra games has really started to pay off from an experience standpoint. They get to play the five or six games as ninth graders, and then in seven games in JV the next year (or two). They will have good game experience when it’s time for varsity ball,” explains Bishop.
They are also closely connected to Adairsville Middle School’s football program. “Our programs are close, geographically and from a work standpoint,” says Bishop.
“We have the middle school kids work out with us over the summer. That way we start to build relationships with those kids, and they have an opportunity learn what the expectations are and how we do things here at Adairsville,” he continues. “Our middle school coaches do a great job of trying to adapt what they do to what we do in terms of terminology and stuff of that nature. We are having staff meetings to line up the high school schemes with the middle school schemes, the terminology, offense, defense and special teams. We go deep into what the expectations are.
“They aren’t expected to do everything. We really just need them to learn the basic fundamentals and the terminology. Terminology is the most important; if we can get it in line, everything else falls into place.”
Like every other coach, Bishop is looking forward to the season and has an experience from this summer that he thinks will help the program tremendously.
“We attended a three-day camp this summer where we got a chance to bond away from the regular settings of home and life. It was just us, the football players and coaches. That time alone and going through those struggles of making sleeping and eating arrangements, and not having downtime or free time because every minute had its purpose, forced us to develop a chemistry like we hadn’t seen in a long, long time,” says Bishop. “I hope it continues to grow, and I know we will build on those lessons and coachable moments we had at the camp. Hopefully it helps us under the lights on Friday nights and down the road this season.”