Freshman Football Making a Comeback at North Atlanta  


Bennett Speir

Young Guns: Freshmen Jack O’Kelly and Ned Coleman were part of this year’s freshman class of Warrior football.

Ninth grade football is making a return to North Atlanta, and that means the freshman will have their own team in the coming year. This is very important for Warrior athletics because this gives an opportunity to build up players by getting them on the field during their freshman year.

Part of the reason for the reintroduction of the team has to do with the increasing number of players who are participating in the Warrior football program. While the freshman team will be solely comprised of first-year high school students, a Warrior JV team will consist of sophomores, high-skill freshmen and some juniors. It’s expected that the coaches for the team will be Coach Patrick Cheney along with Tariq Sewell, who led the football program at Sutton Middle School. “It’s all about getting these young men reps and letting them bond as players,” Cheney said. “We know they are the future of our program so we want them to bond and grow together.”

This year’s freshman crop of athletes said it might have been good for them to have had such an opportunity. Freshman quarterback Jack O’Kelley said he enjoyed playing on his JV team — and getting some reps for the varsity team when starting quarterback Wiley Hartley went down with injuries — but the opportunity to play against other freshman team could have boosted confidence for inexperienced players.  

“We all know it: The way you get better is by playing,” O’Kelly said. “And that’s what’s going to happen now for these guys.”

Freshman defensive end Ned Coleman is another player who said a freshman team would have been a positive experience. “To be sure we had a good times a plenty with our team but it might have been fun playing as just one unit, a likely playing against teams we could have handled,” Coleman said.   

Whether you can picture it or not, this freshman team is going to be a huge turn for the better with North Atlanta football. Instead of the usual having the freshman just sitting on the bench watching the games, they will now be able to play and get their much needed experience in. This experience is going to elevate their play in the future, and in the long run, the warrior football program will build up to be a powerful football program in the coming years.