From Spartanburg to Woodstock How a Viking Became a Eagle

In the very first scenes of REMEMBER THE TITANS,when the team is practicing before camp,the very first time you see players on the field..That’s ETOWAH HIGH SCHOOL.Every school has some kind of story so here is my attempt and telling you one about Etowah. The story of how a Viking can become a Eagle…(that’s something Titans only dream of.)etowaheagleslogo

Playing in the Cherokee County School District in Woodstock,Ga,the Eagles have learned some things along the way.Last season they learned they were so close.Finishing 8-3 and the last two games were against Top 25 teams Nationally.In the previous 3 seasons the Eagles have made the playoffs,the Final Four and the playoffs again. Championships are the logical next step.

I recently spoke with former Spartanburg Viking player,Chris Pack , now the offensive line coach and recruiting coordinater at ETOWAH HIGH SCHOOL. He was kind enough to catch us Vikings up on things going on in Georgia.

Thanks again Coach Pack.

“This year Georgia made a larger classification like South Carolina did. Last year AAAAAA was the largest classification in Georgia and this year they have added a AAAAAAA. When we went to AAAAAAA, that made our regions smaller. Last year we were a 9 team region so we only had 2 non-region games. This year, we are a 6 team region so we had to find 5 non-region games. I’ve been at Etowah for 3 years. We’ve made the playoffs all three years going 7-4 my 1st year, 12-2 my 2nd year(making it to the semi-finals), I played at Spartan High in the early 90’s (’91-’93) and also began my coaching and teaching career there under Doc. I spent 4 years coaching and teaching there.

I moved to Atlanta the year before Doc left Spartan High. I’ve always thought it would be pretty neat to one day be able to schedule them but haven’t really had an opportunity arise where that would work out. We were looking to see if we could find an out of state team to play for that 5th non-region game because we thought that would be a great experience for our kids. On a whim, I called Chris Miller. Chris was the Defensive Line coach at Spartanburg when I began coaching there. Coach Miller told me that they were looking for an out of state team to play also. We needed a home game and they needed an away game this year and then vise-versa the next. It all just kind of worked out. So now I’m a physical education teacher and the Offensive Line Coach and Recruiting Coordinator at Etowah. This is my 10th year teaching and coaching in Georgia now.

Etowah is a school with about 2400 students and we have the largest physical campus in the state of Georgia. Our campus spans about 10 acres. It is in Woodstock, Ga which is a suburb about 35 minutes northwest of Atlanta. The school is in an area of Woodstock that is called Towne Lake. It’s a planned community of about 8 neighborhoods. Etowah is an amazing place to work and Woodstock is considered one of the safest cities in the state of Georgia.

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Etowah’s stadium is called Eagle Mountain. It holds approximately 6500 fans and we also bring in portable seating for big games. We have the only turf field in Cherokee county because our booster club decided they were going to pay for it. We also have a state of the art fully digital jumbotron which is one of the largest in the southeast. Our fans and student sections are incredible! Our fans are extremely supportive and when we went to the final 4 it was like the whole town shut down just to see us off.( It was the most wins and the deepest in the playoffs of any Cherokee County School ever). Parents took their elementary and middle school students out of school and our entire student body got out of class to cheer us on as our buses left campus and there were fans stationed all the way down Towne Lake parkway to cheer us on. Our community is very supportive!

If you are an old school Spartan High Fan, you are going to enjoy watching us play. We are an I-Formation based team much like the dominate Spartanburg teams of the early 90’s. We are going to line up in the I on offense and be a very physical football team. We have a very good RB, Tyray Devezin who has started at DB since he was a freshman and also started at RB since he was a sophomore. He’s an all-state selection and has multiple offers. Our QB Patrick Ferris is very efficient when we throw the ball (1500 yards, 15 TDs last year and only 2 ints.) We return 4 starters on the Offensive line and have put 4 offensive linemen in division 1 schools in the past 3 years. Our defense will give you multiple looks and is led by all-state safety and Stanford commit, Stuart Head. We also return 6 other starters on defense including Tyray Devezin (who was all-state as a RB and also an all-region defensive back), and 2 very strong and physical LB’s in Alan Michael Harris and Collin Mitchell.

Spartanburg has a very good team and as an alum and former player, it’s good to see Coach Miller has them back on the right path. They are athletic and even though they are not big in stature, they are fast and physical. They love to get their athletes in space and make defenses make open field tackles.

Spartan High has always had speed and this year is no different. We have to make sure that, defensively we are sound in our assignments and tackle well. The Vikings can make you pay for the smallest mistake. Offensively, we will have to make sure we are getting on their slanting DL and have our heads and eyes up looking for the LBs who they love to blitz. I’m excited to play this game. I played and coached with several of the Vikings coaches and played with the fathers of several kids on the team. My family is still in Spartanburg and I have several friends and former teammates that are going to make the trip down. This should be a lot of fun!”

— Coach Chris Pack

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