Photos Andy Calvert - L-R: #8 DEVON HEROCH LB/FB #25 SHAUN LESTER-TB/FS
2020 RECORD: 3-8 overall (2-4, REGION 7-AA)
HEAD COACH: Shawn Peek (3-8 CHS, 1 season at Chattooga; 3-18 overall)
ALL TIME RECORD: 626 games – 299-314-13 (49%)
TOTAL SEASONS: 61 FIRST SEASON: 1961 ALL STATE PLAYERS: 29
REGION CHAMPIONSHIPS: 2 (1974 LAST)
STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS: 0
New job, new location, new life experience, the pandemic. 2020 was a true test of perseverance and handling adversity for Coach Shawn Peek and the Chattooga High School Indians football team. Coach Peek took the job in January of 2020 and shortly after, nothing was normal.
“We started and stopped, started and stopped, started and stopped,” says Peek. “We had a two-week period in the middle of the season where we were sent home. Then we finished our season playing our last four regular season games and a playoff game in 19 days, which was a disaster. We played on a Friday, then the following Tuesday, then Saturday again, followed by another week of Tuesday and Saturday. We shouldn’t have done it.”
“We wanted to play the games, as they were all region games,” Peek says. “We wanted to get them all in, but in hindsight, we should not have done that.”
Peek explains, “We fought and struggled thru it, made a lot of mistakes and learned a bunch too. We finished the season strong despite the obstacles or the final score.” He adds, “We made it to the playoffs and played that game with 28 kids. It was one of the best games we played all season. 2020 was a tough year, but we finished well.”
Coach Peek is positive things will be different this year. “We will be experienced, as we are an older team,” he says. “We have some guys that have been around for years. We will put a better product on the field this year, partly because of what we went through.”
Chattooga will feature senior Lashaun Lester, who has rushed for over 3,000 yards in his high school career at running back.
Senior Jaylon Johnson will again be counted on to make big plays receiving and edge blocking. Other receivers include senior Rowan Burdick, an athlete that never comes off the field and junior Damien Smith.
Different two-way players will fill the tight end position for the Indians.
The offensive line is an experienced group that must get into season form. Continuing to create holes for Lester and keeping the quarterback upright sounds simpler than it really is. Peek says, “These experienced players are up for it.”
At quarterback, there’s a two-headed monster in senior Brody Mobbs and sophomore Nic Hester. Both are athletes that played receiver and defensive back last season, so it will be interesting to see what they can do under the center.
In the middle of the Indians’ defense this year will be senior linebacker Devon Heroch, who led the team in tackles in 2020.
The defensive line will feature senior Zander Cook-Harris, who made over 90 tackles last season, which is a big number for a defensive lineman. Joining him up front will be senior Carter Lowenburg, who is described as a true leader.
The defensive backfield will include Burdick, Johnson, Hester, and Mobbs.
“After such a trying season in 2020,” Peek says, “it’s awesome that most of the players get to come back and try to experience some type of normal season before they leave high school.”
“What happened should help them be able to handle most things in football and in life,” Peek says. “We want to be a team that knows how to handle adversity in sports and life. We teach them about life, and about how life is hard, and how football is also.”
Peek explains, “We want to teach them things that matter in the real world so they won’t curl up in the fetal position or hide in a hole when things get tough. We want to be resilient in the same way in life, school, and on the football field.”
2021 GAMES OF SIGNIFICANCE
- All of them, especially the region games.
Chattooga is looking forward to playing games with a full roster and a regular schedule and seeing how things go then.