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5 things to watch in 2021 West Hall High School football season
WEST HALL practice 1.jpg
West Hall Spartans football players work out at the schools practice field Thursday, July 22, 2021. - photo by Scott Rogers

West Hall coach Krofton Montgomery wants people to associate his program with consistency. 

It’s still a work in progress, but a goal Montgomery, the Spartans’ fourth-year coach, feels his program in close to achieving. 

After a substantially better 4-6 mark in 2020, and so much returning talent, making the playoffs for the first time since 2017 is not unrealistic for the Spartans. 

Finishing with a winning record was within West Hall’s grasp throughout the 2020 season. 

The Spartans were in many games and showed plenty of fight. 

However, Montgomery would like to see the fight and consistency for 48 minutes of football.

“We had the opportunity to play with a lot of teams,” Montgomery said. 

2021 Schedule
  • Aug. 20 at East Jackson
  • Aug. 27 at East Hall
  • Sept. 10 at Chestatee
  • Sept. 24 NORTH HALL*
  • Oct. 1 at Cherokee Bluff*
  • Oct. 8 WHITE COUNTY*
  • Oct. 15 at Dawson County*
  • Oct. 22 at Gilmer*
  • Oct. 29 JOHNSON

*Region games

Building balance and experience

The Spartans’ offense is focused on being a balanced attack. 

They want to make sure to keep defenses off balance. 

However, this did not take place last season. 

An inexperienced offensive line forced West Hall to throw the ball more frequently than normal in 2020. 

So much so, senior Rodrigo Lopez led the Spartans with more than 1,000 receiving yards and was an All-State selection. 

Now, those games played has provided the Spartans the experience necessary.

Defensive strength

An improved offensive line will help the defensive line. 

Last season, the defense was on the field for way too many snaps to be rested. 

They did a decent job keeping them in the game, despite the fatigue. 

“We feel defensively, we will put ourselves in a good position,” Montgomery said. “It is our strong point.” 

Players like seniors Jaden White, in the secondary, and Tilil Blackwell, an inside linebacker, will lead the way for the Spartans’ talented defense with ample returning starters. 

White (72 tackles in 2020) is the heart and soul of the defense. 

He has earned All-Region honors the last two seasons. 

Blackwell (40 tackles in 2020) hits as hard as anyone on the field. 

Both guys help anchor the middle for the Spartans.

Offensive influence

The experience on the offensive line is essential to get West Hall’s team started. 

Reagan Byrd is a senior guard and the leader of the line. Last year, he was named to the All-Region first team. 

Tito Hernandez started every game last season as a junior center. 

An experienced person in the middle of the offensive line is important. 

The experience on the line will be essential in order for the Spartans to attain a winning record.

In addition to being a standout on defense, Blackwell is set to start at running back for West Hall.

Minimizing turnovers

Montgomery is placing a premium on limiting the turnovers, as the Spartans seem primed to compete for a playoff spot against Cherokee Bluff and North Hall in Region 7-3A.

However, totally eliminating major offensive mistakes is not always realistic. 

Montgomery would like to keep the turnovers to a minimum. 

This will lead to more rest for the defensive line. It will also potentially create wins.  

“We cannot take ourselves out of scoring positions,” Montgomery said. “This comes from experience, playing together and players trusting each other. You don’t want to have your defense playing 70-plus snaps. Teams are going to score, but you cannot have your defense gassed in the fourth quarter. We will try to play with tempo to help our defense.”

Turf set

Montgomery is focused on building his team for the season. 

His focus is to control what is within his control. 

There are things not in his control. 

One of those things this season is the resurfacing of the field. 

Spartans Stadium is getting a fresh look with a brand-new synthetic surface and freshly painted bleachers. 

As you look on the field, there seems to be plenty of work ahead. 

Montgomery has been told it will be ready by Week 3, the Spartans first home game against Johnson in the Battle of Oakwood on Sept. 3. 

“I am looking forward to it being complete so we’re able to compete,” he said. “I wish we were practicing on it right now and getting used to the surface.”

2021 Roster

1. Mikyle Hemphill Sr.

2. Tilil Blackwell Sr.

3. Jayden Badger Sr.

4. Byron Brevil Sr.

6. Jaden White Sr.

8. Andrew Malin Jr.

9. Nick Davidson So.

10. Preston Smith Sr.

11. Noah Legault Jr.

12. Jonathan Mast Sr.

13. Henry Ruiz So.

14. Nick Sturm Sr.

15. Santana English So.

16. Ethan Clifford Fr.

17. Zach Stephens Jr.

18. Junior Avila Fr.

19. Tobias Perez Fr.

20. Marcus Pugh Fr.

21. Caleb Baker Sr.

22. Andy Mayo Sr. 

23. Lukas Fernandez Jr.

24. Keyvan Allen So. 

25. Preston Rogers Fr.

26. Jayden Young Fr.

27. Kai McAllister Fr.

28. Malik Vaughan Fr.

30. Brady Clark Jr.

31. Calvin Norman Sr.

32. Akabar Aliou Sr.

33. Maliek Richardson So.

34. Blake McCray Sr.

35. Jayden Mullinax Fr.

36. Tyson Slipper Fr.

40. Stone Smith Sr.

42. Ethan Crofutt Sr.

45. Cam Riojas Fr.

46. Skylar Harvey Fr.

50. Matt Harkins Jr.

51. Andrew Clark Fr.

52. Tytres Statham Fr.

53. Adrian Gonzalez Jr.

54. Jack Lemoine Fr.

55. Alex Doster Sr.

56. Kato Martinez So.

57. Reagan Byrd Sr.

58. John Kendrick Fr.

59. Will Wagner Jr.

60. AJ O’Bryant Jr.

61. Kai McAllister Fr.

62. Connor Bailey So.

63. Richard Walker So.

64. Ryan McMillan Jr.

65. Ethan Couch Jr.

66. Bricen Grindle Jr.

67. Bryce Reed So.

70. Anthony Santos Fr.

71. Robert Pizano Fr.

72. Dan Diasi Jr.

73. Chance Armour Fr.

74. Sam Pettit Jr.

76. Travion McDowell So.

77. Tucker Williams So.

78. Tito Hernandez Jr.

80. Anderson Sica Fr.

84. Preston Dontje Fr.

85. KC Staton Fr.

86. Aiden Rainey Fr.

88. Daniel Altamirano Fr.