L-R: TOBY MADDUX (WR/RB/DB) JR LOGAN ELLER (RB/LB) SR LUCAS STOKER (LB/OL) JR - Photos Andy Calvert
Last season, Trion turned lots of heads in Class A finishing as Region 6-A runner-up and just barely losing to Wilcox County in the second round of the Class A State Playoffs.
Coach Sean Patrick enters his third season with the Bulldogs knowing he has some work to do to help rebuild the offensive and defensive lines, but he’s encouraged by the offseason and eager to see what the new landscape in Region 7-A Division I looks like.
“We’ve had a really good offseason. I’ve been excited with the progress that we’ve made. We’re a smaller school, and we had a really big seniors class last year,” Patrick says. “We needed to have a good offseason and our kids have done an excellent job of showing up. Our attendance throughout the summer has been remarkable. I think we have gotten better this off-season.”
The younger team getting better is a big need for the Bulldogs, who move into the brand-new Region 7-A Division I this season among many schools with more kids than they have. While the size discrepancy might be daunting, Patrick seems pumped about the other aspects of the new region.
“Our travel this year will be really good, I think. That’s going to be conducive for good gates for us and good gates for our opponents. There will be challenges. We are the smallest school in the region. A couple of the schools in the region have twice the student count that we do,” Patrick says. “It is what it is. We will roll up our sleeves and go to work. I think it’s going to be a good region with competitive football. I think we’re going to see good crowds and great football environments. That’s fun to play in and fun for the fans to watch.”
Travel should be a lot less daunting than the previous season for most of the region’s opponents as Armuchee, Pepperell, Chattooga, Dade County, Coosa, and Darlington join the Bulldogs. Dade will be the farthest region trip with most of the other journeys being short hops for Trion and its fans.
While Trion focuses on rebuilding its trenches, the Bulldogs return several key components on both offense and defense.
Running back Logan Eller returns and will prove tough to stop for many defenses. Running mate Toby Maddux returns as well and is just as dangerous catching the ball as he is taking hand-offs in the backfield. Sophomore quarterback Kade Smith started as a true freshman last season and gained a ton of experience. All three players play on both sides of the ball and bring a high level of skill to their roles. Ezra Adams and Lucas Stoker play both offensive and defensive line roles and will help anchor those units.
One aspect of the Bulldogs’ attack revolves around their speedy skill players who Patrick says are all quite dangerous.
“We’ve got several kids that if we find ways to get the balls in their hands, they can take it to the house,” he says. “It’s nice to have home run hitters and can score at any moment and several of our offensive skill players have that ability.”
Patrick also notes the entire secondary from last year is returning and although there is a lot of work to be done on refortifying the trenches, he’s already seeing some great progress on that front from off-season and summer workouts.
“It’s exciting because I think we have the pieces to build with, we’re just trying to put everything in place,” he says. “We’re really excited about the upcoming season and excited to build on the success of last year.”
A new region with easier travel and more exciting games combined with an explosive team looking to repeat on last year’s 10-win season means these Bulldogs have plenty of bite and are ready to sink their teeth into their opponents, no matter their size.