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Gaither: Season preview

Coach: Mark Kantor (seventh season, 34-32) | Last season: 8-4 | Class: 5A, District 5 | Colors: Navy, silver, gray and white

A-Listers Jarvis Giles

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound senior running back is going for his third straight 1,000-yard rushing season. Giles, who committed to Tennessee this summer, ran for 1,478 yards and 19 touchdowns last season with 4.45 speed and powerful running between the tackles.

Justin Lattimore

A 6-foot-3, 215-pound tight end/defensive end with offers from Ball State, FIU, Miami (Ohio) and Middle Tennessee State, he could draw more scholarships, including one from Georgia, with a good early showing. He has great size and could see time at wideout.

Yemi Oyegunle

The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder is an outstanding athlete and arguably the Cowboys' top vertical threat in their passing game.

Matt Childs

The senior center is a two-year starter who serves as the anchor of an offensive line that will open holes for the speedy Giles.

Rising star Cary White

He ran for more than 5 yards a carry as a 5-foot-10, 175-pound fullback last year. This year, he will pull double duty as a linebacker. A hard runner, the Cowboys believe he can be a hard hitter, too.

Stunt man George Daines

Guy who does the dirty work

The senior linebacker averaged 5.5 tackles for the Cowboys. Coach Mark Kantor said Daines' work ethic serves as an example for other players.

Cutting-room floor

Three things the Cowboys need to avoid

1. Injuries. Everyone gets hit by the bug, but Gaither missed about two or three starters a game to injuries in 2007.

2. Turnovers on special teams. Special emphasis will be placed on this unit after dismal performances in 2007.

3. Penalties. Despite their talent, sometimes the Cowboys can lack discipline. Penalties need to be limited.

Review

"Obviously, they've done a real good job with their running game. It will be exciting to see how Jarvis (Giles) does this year. The success they've had in that district over there has been very strong." — Sickles coach Pat O'Brien

Final cut

Giles is excited about his senior year and is excited about going out on top. "Every practice is special because I know it's my last year in high school," Giles said. With receiving weapons like Lattimore and Oyegunle, Gaither should be exciting on offense and hard-nosed on defense. Expect another trip to the playoffs

Eduardo A. Encina, Times staff writer

Gaither: Season preview 09/04/08 [Last modified: Thursday, September 4, 2008 3:08pm]
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