Each year, we highlight six of Cherokee County School District’s top football players as selected by their coaches and athletic directors. This year, our featured players are Kaden “Pops” Jameson, Reed Anderson, Vinny Pacini, Matthew Lipcsey, Brady Curl, and Drew Burmeister.
Kaden “Pops” Jameson
Cherokee High School
Cherokee Warriors wide receiver Kaden “Pops” Jameson is embarking on his senior year of football full of drive and ambition. As a starter since his sophomore year and dedicated football player since second grade, Pops knows the tips and tricks to performing a perfect game. His determination stems from the root of the game. Pops explains, “Football has a team like no other.” Without teamwork and close connections, he says, the true meaning of football is lost.
With the guidance of Coach Kevin Burnette, Pops says coordinating the offensive side has become much easier. He explains that this year’s scheme and playbook is easy to follow and integral to winning.
Head Coach Josh Shaw shares that Pops sets a high standard through his leadership skills. “Pops is a multi-sport athlete who is fantastic at both track and football. [As] an all-state track runner, those assets help us tremendously on the field. His hands are phenomenal as well, considering he never drops the ball.”
Pops enjoys playing golf and Cherokee Youth Basketball with his friends when he’s not grinding on the football field. After high school, he hopes to play football and run track in college.
Creekview High School
Reed Anderson’s enjoyment of football sparked when he began playing in first grade and motivated him to continue playing linebacker all the way into his senior year. He says he enjoys spending time with teammates while practicing; it’s what keeps him connected with the sport. Finding moments that spark laughter means everything to him, even if it’s tackling a friend for fun.
He explains that this year’s playbook holds adjustments for offense, since Coach Trevor Williams will be taking over. Reed, a four-year letterman and three-year starter, says defense won’t differentiate much, as he believes it stands strongly as is. “Our stunt packages are unstoppable in the defensive scheme.”
Coach Williams holds Reed in high regard and says, “Reed is the leader of the defense and sets a powerful tone for the whole team. He studies the game at a high level and understands our defense at an elite level.”
Aside from football, Reed throws shot put for Creekview’s varsity track team. Reed’s interests include swimming, playing basketball, and spending quality time with his dogs. After high school, Reed is interested in playing college football and becoming both a coach and history teacher.
Etowah High School
For Vinny Pacini, the free safety at Etowah High School, the new defensive schemes for Etowah will be something to watch. Etowah has some new faces coaching the team this year, which can be challenging. With cool self-possession, Vinny says, “I like the new defensive scheme. We have new coaches, so we’re learning some new ways of doing things, and I love the new defense they’re putting together right now.” He explains, “I love a 3-4 scheme. I just like feeling like I’m in the middle of the defense, like I’m driving the defensive plays. I like being in the play every play.”
Free safeties tend to be some of the hardest hitters in football, and Vinny is no exception. “I definitely do like to hit,” he says with a grin.
Vinny moved from the offense last year, so he has skills on both sides of the field. Rival Cherokee teams take warning: Vinny’s offensive background gives him an innate ability to read the play, and his speed and athleticism will be solid weapons on the gridiron this season.
Vinny is looking at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga after high school. While he’d love the opportunity to play football in college, he has a practical side. Vinny hopes to major in business, where his natural leadership skills and outstanding academics will serve him well.
River Ridge High School
Although the sporting world tends to overuse the term “double threat” when referring to young players, River Ridge senior Matthew Lipcsey epitomizes that phrase. He is equally talented on both the football field and the baseball diamond; in fact, Matthew was just chosen as an honorable mention for Georgia’s All-State baseball team.
In football Matthew was one of the highest on the team in tackles, with more than ninety last season. Yet Matthew remains humble, even gracious about his skills.
He recalls some of his toughest games, stating that playing Langston Hughes High School in the playoffs was extraordinarily challenging. Discussing the pass rush, he says, “After the spring game, we looked rough. Over the summer we’ve gotten a lot better. I was a little worried at first, but after camp [we] did great, so I’m feeling pretty good.”
Matthew is a born leader. Fellow players tend to follow him, both on and off the field. He’s known for speed, hitting hard, and his ability to read the play. He’s been playing football for nine years, but he wants to play baseball in college. He’s looking at the University of North Georgia and Coker University in South Carolina, where he hopes to take his baseball skills further. Any coach that recruits Matthew will get a young man with incredible talent—and an even bigger heart.
Player Profile by Shannon Sickmon, Woodstock Resident
Photo Credit: Dessie Dockins/Dessie Dockins Photography
Sequoyah High School
Sequoyah Chiefs offensive lineman Brady Curl is entering his senior year with a sense of both triumph and anticipation. A football player since first grade, he utilizes the advantages of lifelong practice and deeply rooted friendships to engage in the field. Brady explains that the team’s brotherhood and friendship encourages him to play and is also what inspires the team’s success. Brady states, “The camps we endure in the summer are what connect us, and the season is what pushes us.”
Brady is thoroughly interested in this year’s scheme and playbook, claiming the team has new plays for the offensive side that he’s excited to initiate. His faith for the season lies with Coach James Teter, who is a strong motivator for the team, according to Brady.
Coach Teter shares, “While Brady’s work ethic is his biggest asset, his speed and strength are some of the best tools he uses on the field. Brady is a three-year starter and team leader who brings a tremendous amount of experience to our team.”
Brady occupies his free time by working out at the gym and playing golf with his friends. After high school he hopes to play college football and later transition into being both a history teacher and football coach.
Player Profile by Emma Tyler, Waleska Resident
Photo Credit: Charles Morris
Woodstock High School
Woodstock High School’s inside linebacker Drew Burmeister is a jack of all trades on the field. He can blitz, cover, and read passes, and he excels at zone defense. Drew is a gridiron veteran; he’s been playing since second grade. He also runs track, which enhances his natural speed on the field.
Look out for Woodstock’s defense this year. It is switching things up, but Drew will remain at his ILB post, where his natural speed and midfield ability will bolster his tackling record. “We’re playing some new formations and trying different people in different spots, but I really like filling that gap and making the tackle,” says Drew. “Plus, we have a good receiving corps, and we have some great weapons on offense this year.”
Although the Wolverines struggled last year, the team should be one to watch this season under new leadership.
Drew hopes to attend college and play NCAA football. With his athletic prowess, genuine leadership ability, and solid academics, Drew should have his pick. Where he shines most, though, is in motivating his teammates. “I think I’m a good motivator for my teammates, and I hope that I can fill a leadership role,” he says.
Colleges, take note: any organization that recruits Drew will get the full package.
WLJA Game of the Week Broadcast Schedule
Listen live on WLJA 101.FM or live stream online at WLJAradio.com.
Cherokee @ Woodstock
Cherokee @ Sequoyah
Etowah @ Sequoyah
Creekview @ Etowah
River Ridge @ Creekview
Sequoyah @ Creekview
Creekview @ Woodstock
River Ridge @ Etowah
Sequoyah @ Woodstock
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