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FOOTBALL 2020: East Hall aims for improvement in head coach Michael Perry's second season
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The East Hall Viking offense practices pass plays Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, during practice at East Hall Stadium. - photo by Scott Rogers

The East Hall football team is entering its second year under head coach Michael Perry, and the Vikings are looking to take a step forward following last year’s 2-8 campaign.  

East Hall found some offensive success last season, but allowed 30 or more points in every contest, and will need to shore up its defensive deficiencies to have a chance at competing in a tough Region 8-4A. It is the team’s first year in 4A, after spending the last eight seasons at 3A.  

Perry said he was expecting better execution from the Vikings in his second year coaching the team as the players grow more comfortable with his system and playbook. 

“I think that corps group of kids that we have, they’ve really bought in,” he said. “They know what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable. So the buy-in has been great so far. Got a great group. They’re just fun to work with every day.” 

COOPER’S CONTINUED DEVELOPMENT 

Junior Clete Cooper will reprise his role as starting quarterback for the Vikings, and Perry said the young quarterback’s development over the last year has been promising. After a slow start last season, Cooper caught fire down the stretch, finishing the year with close to 2,500 passing yards and 11 touchdowns.  

Cooper capped off the 2019 season with a 387-yard, four-touchdown performance against Lumpkin County, which powered the Vikings to a 40-31 victory. Cooper’s performance last season was good enough to earn him an honorable mention on the Recruit Georgia 3-A All-State team. Perry said he only sees Cooper getting better in his second year as starter for the Vikings. 

“Clete’s doing a really good job,” he said. “His work ethic has been really good. I’m proud of the growth he’s made in a lot of areas, especially from a maturity standpoint. He’s worked extremely hard in all this, and I think he’s going to end up being a pretty good high school quarterback.” 

STRONG ALONG THE DEFENSIVE LINE 

While East Hall’s defense struggled last season, Perry said he has optimism for this year’s unit, which will be anchored by a deep and experienced defensive line. Perry said he’s counting on the group to be the catalyst for the team’s defensive production.  

“I think our strength is going to be our defensive line,” he said. “We have a pretty solid defensive line that’s just a great, hard-working group of kids.” 

The group returns several upperclassmen contributors from a season ago, including senior Ray Grayble and juniors Marcus Holmberg and Connor Tompkins. The Vikings also welcome senior Orlando Mayweather, who joined the team from Riverside Military Academy after the private school canceled all fall sports this year. 

“(Mayweather) is an exceptional young man,” Perry said. “He has great character, and just is a pretty good football player. He’s going be a bright spot for us definitely on defense.”

MAKING SPECIAL TEAMS SPECIAL AGAIN 

Special teams play was a problem for East Hall a season ago, but Perry said he is not letting the issue go unaddressed. Without a reliable kicker on the roster, the Vikings were forced to go for two-point conversions following every touchdown in 2019. This year, Perry is predicting big things out of freshman kicker Jaden Hernandez -- who is also listed as a wide receiver and defensive back on the East Hall roster.  

With East Hall assistant coach Mark Wade now in control of special teams, Perry said he’s expecting a bump in the kicking game, as well as on punts and returns.  

“Special teams was a disaster last year, but we’ve been working on that really hard,” he said. “Just every day we’re putting emphasis on it.”

ROSTER

1. Matthew Lott LB/WR So.

2. Deshaun Gray CB/WR Sr.

3. Kyle Hughes LB/RB Sr.

5. Clete Cooper QB Jr.

6. Macere Walker CB/WR Jr.

7. Justin Gilbert LB/WR Jr.

9. Ken Hester S/RB Sr.

10. Owen Murrow LB/WR Sr.

12. Jaden Hernandez DB/WR/K Fr.

13. Jahmeil Cantrell LB/WR Sr.

14. Andrew Shockley LB/WR So.

15. Gibby Thompson LB/RB Jr.

18. Walker Anderson CB/QB Fr.

21. Averen Samuels CB/WR Sr.

22. Levi Howard LB/WR Jr.

23. Montavious Tabor S/WR Sr.

24. Kade Rogers DB/WR So.

25. Treshun Moss DB/WR Fr.

26. Temeris Morrison DB/WR So.

41. Demariun Tatum LB/WR Fr.

45. Marco Ramirez LB/RB Fr.

50. Jake Jones DL/OL Fr.

51. Caleb Pruitt LB/C So.

53. Kyzer Colvin DL/OL Jr.

54. Andrew Brice DL/OL Sr.

55. Orlando Mayweather DL/OL Sr.

56. Caleb Reeves DL/OL Fr.

58. Marcus Holmberg DL/OL Jr.

59. Jake Evans LB/OL So.

62. Connor Tompkins DL/OL Jr.

65. Jayden Mahaffey DL/OL Fr.

66. Isaiah McClary DL/OL So.

73. Jason Garcia DL/OL Fr.

74. Kyle Mason DL/OL Fr.

75. Ray Grayble DL/OL Sr.

76. Caleb Woodring DL/OL Fr.

77. Eric Osorio DL/OL Sr.

81. Jacob Hernandez CB/WR Fr.

83. Daniel Murillo CB/WR Fr.

85. Casen Cash CB/WR Fr.

SCHEDULE

September 11                      at West Hall

September 18                     FRANKLIN COUNTY

September 25                    JOHNSON

October 2                            at East Jackson

October 9                            CEDAR SHOALS

October 16                          at Jefferson

October 23                          CHESTATEE

October 30                         at North Oconee

November 13                     at Madison County

November 20                    FLOWERY BRANCH

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