OCILLA -- With all of the changes in leagues this season, the Irwin County Indians will remain in Region 2-AA.
But, that may be the only thing that stays the same for the Indians.
While head coach Jute Wilson's team remains in 2-AA, the league has changed. Gone from the region are Brooks County, Cook High and Berrien. Those teams have been replaced by Jeff Davis, as well as two teams that dropped down from Class AAA, Appling and Fitzgerald.
The Indians will also go into those uncharted waters with a new field leader as T.J. Bryant has graduated after starting at quarterback for Irwin over the last three seasons.
"Certainly the quarterback is the biggest question mark facing our team this season after losing T.J. to graduation," Wilson said. "For the first time in three years, we do not know who is going to be under center."
Right now, upcoming senior Drew Tankersley appears to have the nod as Bryant's replacement. Even though he is joined in the battle by newcomer Wallace Mizell.
"T.J. was a great young man to coach and did a great job for us. However, Drew has made a solid showing for the spot after backing up T.J. for the past few years," said Wilson.
However, Tankersley and Mizell, "are neck-and-neck for the starting spot and will rotate series during the scrimmage games until a front-runner develops," Wilson said.
The coach added about the duo, "both have had an excellent work ethic and will see considerable playing time at quarterback."
Whoever lines up under center will have an almost entirely new offense to work with as the Indians only return four starters.
However, there is some quality returning as one of those players is junior lineman Justin Anderson (6-foot-5, 300), who was voted All-State last season by the Georgia Sports Writers Association.
Also returning are running backs Charvarious Carlton and Patrick Florence, as well as tight end Mark Young.
As a sophomore last season Carlton (6-foot, 165) rushed for 856 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also had seven catches for 77 yards. Florence (5-foot-10, 160) added 692 yards on 97 carries. He also scored two touchdowns.
Young was a tough blocker last season and also had several big catches for the Indians.
"Patrick and Chavarious return and will be a key to our success. Justin had a great off-season and he will be a force to be reckoned with," Wilson said.
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