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Football coach Paul Friel leaving Johnson
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Paul Friel, the Johnson High football coach since 2006, announced his resignation Tuesday.

Johnson athletic director Tim Rogers said Friel made the decision over the weekend and informed Rogers, as well as the team, on Tuesday. He’ll be taking a head coaching position at a high school in Maryland, Rogers said.

Friel was not immediately available for comment.

The search for the next Knights head coach is already under way.

“It’s late in the game, but we’re going to do the best can do in looking for the right candidate,” Rogers said. “The No. 1 thing would be finding someone who’s committed to the task, and that encompasses a lot of different things.”

In six seasons at Johnson, Friel was 14-45-1, including an 0-10 season in 2011. The Knights’ last winning season, and last trip to the postseason came in 2004 when Johnson finished 7-4 under former coach Blair Armstrong.

Earlier this year, after Georgia High School Association reclassification bumped Johnson up a classification into Region 8-AAAA, the school’s administration decided to play a non-region schedule in 2012.

The move will save the Knights from an eight-game region slate and will allow Johnson to play a high number of area schools, including the season opener against West Hall in the annual Battle of Oakwood on Aug. 24 at Johnson.

The Knights will also play fellow Hall County schools North Hall and Chestatee, the latter of which also plays in Region 8-AAAA.

Sports editor Brent Holloway contributed to this story


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