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Photo by Jon Barash
Photo by Jon Barash

The current senior class at Chattahoochee had never experienced a winning season entering the 2010 campaign. After dropping down one classification due to enrollment and picking up a key transfer with a famous Chattahoochee pedigree, the Cougars are 7-0 and closing in on the school’s first region title since 2003. What is the key for a Chattahoochee squad that went 4-6 last year?

Perhaps it is the addition of Kane Whitehurst, cousin of former Cougar QB Charlie Whitehurst, who went on to Clemson and is now on the Seattle Seahawks roster. Last season at Northview, Whitehurst was under center and in the shotgun, but with head coach Jim Showfety departing for Dunwoody, Whitehurst left for Chattahoochee and switched positions to get on the field. As a receiver, Whitehurst has used his speed to stretch defenses and thus far he has hauled in 10 touchdowns.

The man throwing those TDs has been Tim Byerly, who is a bit different than Brendan Cross (Wake Forest) and Whitehurst (Clemson). Those QBs were thought to be pass-first options while Byerly uses his legs a bit more often. He ran for two scores against Sequoyah and has 4.52 40-speed. Last season, he rushed for nearly 1150 yards and found the endzone 17 times on the ground opposed to his 13 times through the air. He is attracting interest from southeastern schools including a few in the SEC.

His offensive line is also getting attention paid from the likes of the SEC. Matt Kiefer has been blowing open holes all season long on the offensive line and Barron Dixon, at just 6-foot-4, 265 lbs, is also receiving attention as a lineman. Dixon might have a future in the SEC at defensive line as several schools such as Ole Miss and Arkansas are after the potential tackle.

All of these players have bonded together and have run The Hooch out to a 7-0 record, its best start since 2001. The Cougars have a chance to make some serious noise come playoff time and could challenge the likes of Clarke Central, Northside and Kell for the state title.