Head coach D.L. Koontz expects better from his team this year as the Colonels begin their season Saturday at Allatoona.
“It’s tough because you’re overshadowed by past performances,” Koontz said of last year’s team. “We still placed in the top 20, but it’s not acceptable by any standards for us and our team. We could have been better.”
Cass returns all of its state qualifiers from a season ago.
The two state placers, sophomore Hunter Quinn and junior Chandler Bloom are returning. Senior Rashad Williams placed sixth last year along with other qualifiers, including juniors Montavious Turner, Devin Wills and Tyler Larsen.
“The good thing about that whole group of guys, obviously they’ve been working hard all summer, but every single one of them went out on day two. Some of them, if they would have won that last match, are state placers,” Koontz said. “So they went right out at that round, which made them hungry.”
Cass also returns senior Montavious Parker was a state qualifier as a sophomore, but missed weight at sectionals in 2013.
“He very well could be a key participator for us this year,” Koontz said. “He’s the beast on the football field. If you’ve seen him, you know he’s a monster.”
With all the returning talent, Koontz expects his team to compete with the best in the state, as he feels the Cass program should.
“I know other coaches would be ecstatic finishing top-20 in the state, but the bar has been set high at Cass and we’re always trying to keep that level up, so we’re not satisfied for being tied for 17th,” Koontz said. “I was proud of our guys last year and the six guys at the state tournament and how they battled and all that kind of stuff. That being said, there was also disappointment.
“This year was probably our best summer in the nine years that I’ve been with Cass where guys were in the weight room. They were hungry, which is a great thing to see that they want to push themselves and they know they can take themselves to the next level.”
Gilmer will be the main competition in the region for the Colonels. The Bobcats were AAAA state champions a year ago.
“Everybody in the region’s big competition is Gilmer. The best way to put it is they’re a rolling machine that just reloads. They have so many kids in that program,” Koontz said. “For our region, there’s no slouches. There’s Heritage, Catoosa, and Southeast Whitfield knocked us out twice. They knocked us out at area duals last year, and we lost to them day one and then lost to them again. They have a good team and their coaches do a good job. You can’t go to sleep in this region and say we don’t have to worry about any team.”
Cass hopes to compete for a state championship this year and Koontz believes no team is unbeatable.
“Expectations are very high this year. We have the kids that can make a push for it and we have the talent level to be able to compete a whole lot better than we could last year with Gilmer,” he said. “We have had battles against Gilmer when we were AAA. We lost the state championship to them, they lost to us. They were great rivalries between us, and you can’t say that the returning state champions aren’t the ones that everybody’s chasing.”
Nov. 23 — Blackbeard Duals at Allatoona High, 9 a.m.
Nov. 26 — Eagle Duals at Etowah High, 9 a.m.
Dec. 7 — Crossbone Duals at East Paulding High, 9 a.m.
Dec. 13, 14 — Parlay Invitational at Allatoona High, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 17 — Villa Rica at Cass High, TBA
Dec. 20, 21 — War Eagle Invitational at Woodward Academy, 5 p.m.
Jan. 3, 4 — Area Duals at Gilmer High, 5 p.m.
Jan 9, 10 — State Duals at Macon Centerplex, TBA
Jan. 15 — Bartow County Duals at Cass High, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 17, 18 — Sham Slam at Habersham Central, 5 p.m.
Jan. 17, 18 — Bulldog Brawl at Forsyth Central High, 5 p.m.
Jan. 24, 25 — Crossbone Classic at East Paulding High, 4:30 p.m.
Jan. 31, Feb. 1 — Area Traditional at Cass High, 4:30 p.m.
Feb. 7, 8 — Sectionals at Fayette County High, 4:30 p.m.
Feb. 14, 14 — State Traditional at Gwinnett Center, TBA