SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Welcome to 15 Teams in 15 Days! This is WSAV’s annual high school football preview series where we do a deep dive on a new team for each of the first 15 days of August. This year, we will ask and answer four standard questions of each team, which are all listed below:

Why are you interesting?

Country Day started off 2021 with solid back-to-back wins over Bulloch Academy and Emanuel County Institute before getting devastating news prior to their Week 3 game against Metter.

All-star wideout Kenny Odom would miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury, depriving longtime quarterback Barry Kleinpeter of his most dynamic target.

The Hornets went on to lose the next six games and finish 4-7 overall, but it was not for lack of the team trying, particularly when it came to Kleinpeter. He finished his historic run at Country Day with 5,872 total passing yards and 73 total touchdowns, which are both program records.

This is now year one of the post-Kleinpeter era and sophomore quarterback Barton Mixon has some big shoes to fill. Teammates are already giving him high marks, though.

“Barton’s a dog,” Bing said. “That man is a dog. He’s the first out here, always making sure we’re in the huddle, getting on the receivers and our linemen to make sure we’re doing our jobs. I think Barton might not be as good as Barry was, but he’ll be up there. That man is a dog, for sure.”

“We’re a young team, but we’ve got a lot of talent and the kids are working hard,” said head coach John Mohring. “They had a great offseason and this is the first full offseason as a staff with this group so they understand the expectations and they’re doing well.”

Who are your dudes?

With a young quarterback and the departure of longtime receiving stalwart Odom, the Hornets can be expected to put more emphasis on their ground attack.

That’s where senior running back Michael Grandy comes in.

Grandy ran for nearly five yards per carry and nine rushing touchdowns last season. If he can duplicate those numbers this year, it should help take pressure off of Mixon in his first season as starter.

“We’re going to lean on him a lot. He’s one of our two seniors this year so he has to carry the load,” Mohring said.

Bing also spoke favorably of the incoming freshman class.

“They were pretty big for eighth-graders so I think they can survive in high school ball.”

What’s up with your coach?

John Mohring is entering his second year as the Hornets’ head coach, but his first full offseason.

His hiring was marked by unusual circumstances; Country Day initially hired Tyler Ward to coach the 2021 season, but he resigned the position near the end of April. By the time the Hornets hired Mohring, there was less than three months to go until the first game kicked off.

Now that Mohring got through with his first season and had a chance to catch his breath, he’s more focused than ever on implementing his football philosophy, which is simple, yet powerful.

“Try to make it a physical game,” Mohring said. “Tackle well on defense, stop them from running the ball on defense. I’m defensive-minded, so I want our defense to play great and our offense to limit their time of possession, so running the ball efficiently and high-percentage passing is key.”

When’s the big game?

No less than three of our seven teams so far have told WSAV that Calvary Day was their biggest game….and of the four that didn’t, one of them was literally Calvary Day.

Hey, when you’re the region champs, everybody wants a piece of you.

“I’d say Calvary is our big rival,” Bing said. “We lost to them for a couple years but we’re looking for that win hopefully this year.”

“Its been a tradition for a long time and I think it just builds more and more every year,” said Michael Grandy. “The atmosphere, the energy of that night, it’s unexplainable.”

Country Day has lost 11 of its last 12 games against the Cavaliers, including a 28-7 defeat that the Hornets suffered last year.

The last Hornet win over Calvary came in their 2019 region title season, where the Hornets gained 496 yards of offense in a 49-14 rout.