RANSOM

Jackson County's Tre Ransom, who rushed for over 1,000 yards last year, carries the ball during a game in 2020.

Jackson County High School begins a new era of football Friday night.

The Panthers host Cherokee Bluff for a scrimmage game at the new Jackson County High School campus in Hoschton.

Jackson County is coming off a 4-6 season in Rich McWhorter’s second year as head coach. They also finished 3-5 against Region 8-AAAAA foes, including shutout wins over Johnson and Walnut Grove. 2020 was a step up from 2019 when Jackson County finished 3-7 and a mere 1-5 in Region 8-AAA.

Cherokee Bluff is entering its fourth season of existence, but the young program has already enjoyed a ton of success. The Bears went 10-2 last year and won the Region 7-AAA Championship. Their year ended with a 23-21 loss to Carver (Atlanta) in the second round of the AAA State Playoffs.

Cherokee Bluff’s recent success makes them an excellent measuring stick for a Jackson County team hoping to continue its ascension under McWhorter.

“They've done a really good job building that program,” McWhorter said. “[Cherokee Bluff coach Tommy Jones] has a lot of really good players coming back... great offensive linemen who are college offensive linemen Just a very good football team so it's going to be a really good test.

“We're going to play a lot of kids. We're not going to game plan to win, we're going to game plan to get everybody in a position to complete so we can evaluate. We still have a lot of evaluation to do.”

McWhorter compared Cherokee Bluff to the teams in Region 8-AAAAA saying their size and athleticism makes them similar to teams in Jackson County's region.

Jackson County begins the 2021 regular season on Friday, August 27 at home against East Jackson.

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