2018 Record: 5-6, overall (3-3, REGION 5AAAA)
Head Coach: O. Doyle Kelly 15-8, 2 seasons as Cedartown Head Coach
All Time Record: 997 games 595 – 367 – 35 (61%)
Total Seasons: 111 First Season: 1907 All State Players: 80
Region Championships: 11 (Last in 2001)
State Championships: 1 (Last in 1963)
8.23 vs Rockmart
8.30 at Alexander
9.13 at Bremen
9.20 at Southeast Whitfield
9.27 at Cartersville
10.4 vs LaGrange
10.11 at Central, Carroll
10.25 vs Troup County
11.1 at Sandy Creek
11.8 vs Chapel Hill
Once a Dawg, always a Dawg.
Ask anyone in Cedartown and they’ll tell you that. Something else you’ll hear (and feel) this year is their excitement about the upcoming high school season.
The Bulldogs are looking to build from the potential of last year’s team. Despite their record from 2018, Cedartown was a playoff team and very good.
“As we look back on that season, we lost five games by a combined 24 points. We lost to Rockmart with 12 seconds left, to Bremen with under a minute left to play, to Cartersville in the last 90 seconds and we did the same with Troup County,” explains Cedartown Head Coach, Doyle Kelly.
Kelly is entering his third year at the school and 35th year coaching between the lines. “The five games we lost could have easily been a 10-0 record and achieving that coveted number-one seed in the playoffs. When we got to the end of a few games, something bad would happen, whether wemade it bad or the other team did. Something bad always happened at the end of those games.”
For the 2019 season, the Cedartown Bulldogs are loaded. New offensive coordinator, Benji Frazier, is coaching some tremendous star power on offense, starting with highly recruited Kobe Pryor(senior) at the running back position. Then there’s starting quarterback Taji Hudson, another highly recruited senior calling the signals for the team.
“With the offense, we have some weapons; the QB position is solid with Taji, we have Pryor and then there’s CJ Washington, a sophomore in the backfield who is already receiving D1 offers. We have a chance to be really good this year on the offensive line, as well. We feel good about everything,” says Kelly.
In order to be a good team, you have to get it done in all areas of the game, especially defense. Coach Kelly feels Cedartown has a chance for great success on that side of the ball.
“We feel like we have a chance to compete for the region championship (a tough region with Cartersville, Troup County and Sandy Creek High Schools) in one of the best regions in the State of Georgia. We feel good, and we really feel like we have a chance to do some special things on defense,” explains Kelly.
Most of the 2018 starters will return on defense. There’s Will Pilgrim, a three-year starter on the defensive line, along with John Kent, Dorian Gibson and Peyton Carter fill in as his mates up front on the line. At outside linebacker is Chadriq Neal, another three-year starter.
Junior cornerback Jayden Johnson, who was All-Region as a sophomore, will man one corner and Rashad Walker will cover the other. The rest of the secondary will include D.J. Frazier and M.J. Walker at the safety positions.
“Taji Hudson will also play some free safety. He’s six-foot-four, 195 pounds and can cover a lot of ground. He’s like another quarterback on defense,” says Kelly.
“We have to go both ways,” he continues.”Washington and Pryor will be playing outside linebacker, too. It gets tough in the playoffs when we are playing teams who don’t have guys playing both ways. Sometimes, our kids get tired. But overall, our defense is blessed.”
On special teams, Juan Cruz and Jorge Peinado will cover the kicking game. Kobe Pryor was the punter last year and will likely perform the duty again if no one emerges to assume the position.
On the junior varsity level, some freshmen to watch will be Reece Tanner, Eli Barrow and two other kids who Kelly describes by referring to their Bulldog bloodline. “The little Diamond kid (Harlem, son of former Cedartown linebacker, Jamie Diamond), he’s going to be a good player,” coach says, “and the Gammage kid, a six-foot-three, 230-plus pound freshman linemen, from a great line of Gammages here in Cedartown, is going to one to watch.”
Kelly says they have five games scheduled for them but are looking for more. “They were a successful group in middle school football, so we have big hopes for them in the future,” Kelly says.
This year’s middle school has about 50 kids participating now. They have great size which has the coaches excited for Cedartown’s future, as well as the present.
“We have a chance to be good this year, we’re excited. We come out here and we work hard every day because we want to get this program to a high level,” smiles Kelly.
True to the “Once a Bulldog always a Bulldog”slogan, Cleveland Browns (and former Cedartown and Georgia Bulldog) Nick Chubb, worked out with the team all summer, showing up every morning at eight o’clock for workouts.
“Along with being at every workout, he also went to padded camp with us. It was great having Nick around. Nick is a Bulldog and he’ll be a Bulldog until he dies. He’s all about CDT, and it really shows kids how real being a Dawg is and the work it takes to be successful,” says Kelly.
Chubb also held a youth camp for the youngsters at Cedartown.
Another former Bulldog, Matt Loudermilk, is a member of Cedartown’s coaching staff while awaiting a call from the NFL (to punt). He also worked out with kids this summer. “We want him here because he has a lot of knowledge, but we more so want him to have that opportunity to play professional ball, so we hope he gets that call,” says Kelly.
“We have a lot of former players who want to be around us and that’s great. It’s a Cedartown pride thing. It’s great seeing all these guys want to come out and be around the coaches and the team. We want to build that pride in the old saying ‘Once a Dawg, Always a Dawg.’ Ask anyone in CDT and they’ll tell you that.”