Class 5A blog: It was a good week for coaching debuts

After a very un-Tucker-like season a year ago, the Tigers appear to be back the right track.

Tucker, which dropped from Class 6A to Class 5A, went 2-9 last year and coach James Thomson left to take a head coaching position in Winter Haven, Fla. The school promoted Lonnie Jones, who had retired as a successful football coach in North Carolina and had been the track coach at Tucker for the previous two seasons.

“I liked the hustle I saw,” Jones said. “The defense was getting to the football and the offense was blocking well, but we knew that was going to be one of our strengths.”

The offensive line performed at a high level, which helped junior running back Jordan McCoy rush 29 times for 271 yards and four touchdowns in the 45-14 win over Miller Grove. Tucker ran for 380 yards and five touchdowns and Christian Jamison threw for 200 yards and two touchdowns.

Of the 15 new faces in Class 5A, 10 came away with victories at their new school. That should buy them at least one more happy week with the fan base.

Coffee (Mike Coe), Dutchtown (Niketa Battle), Ola (Tom Causey), McIntosh (Derek Smith), Mays (Tony Slaton), Midtown (Darrell Howard), Kell (Bobby May), Flowery Branch (Jason Tester) and Heritage (Ryan Andrews) all saw their teams come out on top.

Each win was significant in its own way.

Coffee: Coe brought a great track record to Coffee (four state titles in five years at Madison County, Fla.) and was replacing the legendary Robby Pruitt. After the opening 55-7 win over Tift County, it looks like the Trojans are going to be in the thick of the Region 1 race.

McIntosh: Smith, who had been at Viera, Fla., watched his team beat rival Fayette County 20-7. It was the first time McIntosh has won its season opener since 2017 when the Chiefs began the season 5-0. McIntosh should contend for one of the playoff spots in Region 3. Quarterback Tate Morris threw for a touchdown and ran for a touchdown.

Dutchtown: The Bulldogs defeated Stephenson 24-24 to give Battle a win in his first game.

Ola: The Mustangs brought home a 46-18 win over Griffin to give Causey his first win in Georgia. It was the first time Ola come close to beating Griffin. The Bears won the previous four contests by an average of 32.5 points.

Mays: Slaton, promoted as the offensive coordinator, got started in the right direction with a 35-0 win over Douglass. It was the fifth straight win for Mays over the Astros.

Midtown: The Gray Knights lost the only game they played last season, but wasted no time under new coach Howard, who replaced Kevin Clark. Midtown slammed KIPP School 33-20 in his debut. Midtown is playing a non-region schedule this year.

Kell: May had the Longhorns playing at a high level in the 38-23 win over Cherokee Bluff. Quarterback Bryce Clayton threw for 263 yards and three touchdowns with Payton Zachary catching seven balls for 109 yards.

Flowery Branch: Tester, who was promoted to the head position after Ben Reaves left to take the job at Oconee County, got a win when the Falcons beat Decatur 39-38. Myles Ivey scored on a 3-yard run with less than a minute left to sew it up. Ivey ran for 218 yards and Malik Dryden ran for 195 yards in the opener.

Heritage: The Patriots won their opener, 34-20 over Salem, for Andrews, who took the job when Eddie Snell retired after only one season.