NORTH FULTON, Ga. — Fulton County Schools held its third Countdown to Kick-off media day in Sandy Springs Friday, allowing coaches and their standout players to preview the 2017 season beginning in three weeks.
Coaches and players from Cambridge, Johns Creek, Northview, Chattahoochee, Milton, Roswell, Centennial and Alpharetta were in attendance.
Steven Craft, Fulton County athletic director, said the event spotlights the athletes, coaches and athletic programs and opens the 2017-18 athletic year.
“We’ve got some great things happening in our district and some fantastic athletic programs,” Craft said. “We are expecting great things this year.”
Roddy White, a former Atlanta Falcons receiver and first-year assistant coach at Johns Creek, addressed the players and coaches. After speaking on the importance of having fun, playing as a team and looking to the future, he finished by loudly stating, “Go Gladiators!”
Five first-year head coaches at North Fulton schools took the opportunity to address their transitions to new programs.
Milton head coach Adam Clack said his transition has been successful and he is looking forward to continuing Milton’s great rivalries.
Matt Kemper of Roswell said he has “big shoes to fill” after the Hornets posted a 28-2 record the past two seasons, but he is honored to be in his role.
After taking over his first head coaching job, Centennial’s Michael Perry said, “Being a coordinator was easy compared to [head coach].” He said he is looking forward to the 2017 season and implementing a new offense for the Knights.
Northview’s James Thomson said the Titans’ offseason has been productive and he “couldn’t be more proud of where we are” at this stage of the season.
Matt Helmerich of Johns Creek said he has been welcomed with open arms by the community and he looks forward to the Gladiators being competitive this season.
The three returning coaches – Jacob Nichols of Alpharetta, Cambridge’s Craig Bennett and Chattahoochee’s Vince Strine – said they are also ready for the 2017 season.
Nichols said the goal for Alpharetta will be returning to the top of the region standings. Bennett said after Cambridge’s first playoff appearance last season, his team will continue to look forward, and Strine said the Cougars’ coaching staff is the best he has been a part of in his 10 years of coaching.
Fulton County Schools will hold its second Gridiron Challenge in two weeks, pitting North Fulton schools against South Fulton programs in scrimmage games the week before the regular season.