JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Since its program was founded 15 years ago, Mount Pisgah has enjoyed its most successful stint under head coach Mike Forester, who has compiled a 32-15 record and has made the playoffs all four years since he came on board, what Forester called the goal for each season.
The team will seek to continue its playoff streak this season, as well as capture the program’s second region championship, with a seasoned offensive and inexperienced but promising defense.
Standout senior quarterback Jacob Cendoya returns to lead the Patriots’ offense. He not only led the team in passing yards and touchdowns, he was also the Patriots’ leading rusher, compiling 2,468 yards passing with 22 touchdowns and added 1,169 yards on the ground with 10 touchdowns in 2016.
“Cendoya is an incredible talent,” Forester said. “He loves playing and gives us a spark and enthusiasm.”
Cendoya will get the ball into the hands of senior receiver Kai Williams, who had 843 yards receiving with 11 touchdowns, including four 100-plus yard games, last year.
Joining Williams in the receiving core will be Jacob Wooten and David Woodward.
The Patriots’ also bring size and experience to the offensive line with 6-foot-3 tackle Chad Peden and 6-foot-5 Connor Getchell leading the line.
Trey Murphy will likely lead the rushing attack for the Patriots who averaged 34 points per game last year.
“We’re hoping our offense is going to be what drives us,” Forester said. “We’re counting on them to win us quite a few ballgames.”
Mount Pisgah will need to fill more gaps on what Forester called a “young defense,” but he said he has been pleased with his “promising” new starters.
Defensive end Connor Pursell, linebackers Charlie Smith, Jackson Grant and Jonathan Giglia return for the Patriots’ defense.
The Patriots’ allowed an average of 29 points per game in 2016 with one shutout.
Mount Pisgah will face the same nine teams as last year before the Region 6-A play-in game Nov. 4 and will try to avoid a last-season skid against the region’s top teams.
The Patriots opened the season 4-0, including a no-contest against Rabun County, before falling in four of their final six games to Pinecrest Academy, Fellowship Christian, Mount Paran and Trion.
“All of our opponents are tough, but some of the really tough teams are at the end of the season,” Forester said. “If we can stay injury-free, we can stay successful.”
The Patriots are 20-7 against their first nine opponents under Forester.