The road to redemption runs through Dahlonega. After a winless 2006 season, Lumpkin County came back in coach Tommy Jones’ second year at the helm to go 5-5.
For further improvement the Indians will need to find replacements for the 2,000 all-purpose yards lost with the graduation of Cameron and Ken Jackson.
"We will try to control what we can control and get better," Jones said. "Pound the rock is still our motto.
"We need to forget about past mistakes and successes, and live in the moment."
With the speed and consistent production of the Jackson running back duo gone, the Indians will rely heavily on senior quarterback Daniel Abercrombie.
Only four offensive starters are returning, and Abercrombie makes up the majority of notable production returning from the 2007 season.
"We will need him to carry the load," Jones said.
Junior running back Chad Fulton will also be needed to help fill the void.
Jones is counting on a breakout year from offensive tackle Josh Scott, who was injured for the majority of the 2007 season.
"He’s huge and very athletic," Jones said. "I am sure that he is going to have a great year."
According to Jones, the Indians are lacking breakaway ability and are going to have to execute to near perfection.
"This year we will have to have 11 guys that know and are consistent in their assignments," Jones said.
Seven starters return for an Indians defense that allowed 25 points per game in 2007. With more starters returning, the Indians hope to see a decrease in the points per game allowed, much like when the Indians improved by 10 points per game when six starters returned in 2007.
Leading the Indians defensive unit will be linebackers Lance Chuvala, Ben Ayres, Brandon Roberts and Micah Davis. Davis in particular has Jones excited.
"He’s been waiting in the wings for his turn," Jones said. "I am excited for him to get to show his abilities because he has some."
Ben Ayres, who made 12-of-14 field goals in 2007 with a long of 44 yards, will again handle kicking duties for the Indians.
Losing offensive producers is one thing, but two guys who produced 2,000 yards between them leaves a pretty large hole to fill.
Lumpkin County’s success this year hinges on whether or not it can find the replacements. Because holding teams scoreless matters little if you can’t score either.