DUNWOODY, Ga. — The Dunwoody Wildcats are hoping that bigger is better next year when its sports programs move up to the largest high school classification in the state.
Based on an enrollment of 2,258, the Georgia High School Association has reclassified Dunwoody as one of the 45 largest schools in the state, and moved the Wildcats up to 7-AAAAAAA, a region it shares with Norcross, Archer, Discovery, Berkmar and Meadowcreek high schools.
“I think it will be a welcome change,” Dunwoody football coach Mike Nash said. “While we will be in the highest classification, which will be tough, we will be able to play more non-region games. I know the coaches in this new region extremely well and they are all class guys. A few of them are friends of mine, and a couple of them are even high school legends.”
Even though the new region includes perennial powers Archer and Norcross, Dunwoody’s chances of making the playoffs improves because four of the six teams will qualify for the post-season.
“The competition in this new region will be tough, but simply as a numbers game, our chances increase significantly,” Nash said. “No doubt Archer and Norcross will be the teams to beat. They are traditional football powers and have both played in state championships recently. Those programs are juggernauts.”
Because Dunwoody is moving from a nine-team region to a region with six teams, it will allow Nash to schedule five out-of-region games instead of just two. Expect the Wildcats to keep rival Chamblee on the schedule as well as add some neighboring schools.
“I am working on (the schedule) now,” Nash said. “I’m close to having it lined up and just need to make it official. It sure is nice to be able to put a schedule together instead of pretty much being handed one.”
The new region, whose five other schools are located in Gwinnett County, marks a homecoming of sorts for Nash, who was born and raised in Gwinnett.
“It is nice to be able to play in Gwinnett again,” Nash said. “Gwinnett coaches have always had a good camaraderie. It’s not just about football with those guys. They are truly co-workers and look after one another.”
The Wildcats are coming off a 3-7 season in which junior quarterback Davis LeDoyen and senior wide receiver Tyler Eith broke most all of the school’s single-season records for passing and receiving. LeDoyen threw for 2,708 yards, not only a Dunwoody record but a DeKalb County record, while Eith’s 86 receptions were a new school and county mark.
“Davis and Tyler both had historic seasons,” Nash said. “Their numbers speak for themselves. However, the whole senior class was exceptional. David Julian’s numbers (60 receptions, 7 touchdowns) would be the highlight for most teams and get overshadowed by Tyler›s.”
Nash also said senior Jack Hogan, who played on both sides of the ball will be tough to replace.
“Jack never missed a game whether or not he was banged up,” Nash said. “He played both offense and defense. He’s just an old school football kid. This group of seniors have laid a solid foundation for us to build on and we are going to try and do just that. Our progress was incredible this year. We are finally competitive almost every Friday night.”