Adairsville overcomes inexperienced offensive, defensive lines to join state rankings

Starting the season with an inexperienced offensive and defensive line usually doesn’t equate to success in high school football. Adairsville has bucked the trend this year. Although the Tigers had only one returning lineman on either side of the ball, they’ve won their first three games and climbed to No. 10 in the Class AAA rankings.

“That group has put a lot of time in the weight room and you can tell,” coach Eric Bishop said. “They’re a lot stronger. We’re not there yet, but they’ve come a long way.”

Bishop said the defensive line has progressed the fastest, but admitted the offense has made strides, too. “If the offensive line can continue to improve, they could be one of the best we’ve had at Adairsville in a long time.”

The offensive line has done a good job protecting quarterback Marcus Childers (6-2, 200) and opening holes for running back Sidnee Johnson, a pair of three-year starters.

Bishop called Childers “the best combination of an option quarterback and a throwing quarterback I’ve ever been around.”  Childers is a student of the game who knows how to run the offense.

Johnson is the back in the Pistol offense. He has been over 100 yards in each of the first three games. He scored 15 touchdowns last season, three of them on returns.

Childers has dependable targets in three-year starter Marquel Lane and Tony Hale, who has the speed to stretch the field.

The defense is led by its linebackers: Dallas Cannon, Daelen Harrison and Cody Hightower on the inside and Clay Duncan and Chris Blackston on the outside.

“Those are some physically tough kids,” Bishop said. “They love contact and they love to compete. They’ll force the ball carrier to make a decision. You’ll look at them off the hook and they’re not that special, but they’re very physical and they love to hit.”

Adairsville, which was off a week ago after its emotional win over Ringgold, will be challenged this week by Sonoraville, which is off to a 3-1 start.

“They’re much improved and they continue to improve,” Bishop said. “They’re on a roll as well.”

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