Returning home and to the dome

Sophie McDonald
Sports Editor

Erin Jackel/The News

As the Racers head south to face Georgia State, some players are returning to their hometowns and old stomping grounds.
More than 10 players and coaches are from the Peach State and are looking forward to playing in front of family and  friends.
“It’s going to be pretty exciting, I’m happy to go back,” Dontrell Johnson, senior defensive back from Moultrie, Ga., said. “It’s like two or three hours from my house so I’m probably going to have a lot of people in there – so we have to win that game.”
For junior defensive back Julian Whitehead, playing in the Georgia Dome is a chance to play in the energy-pumped environment for the second time.
“It’s just down the street from where I’m from so it’s exciting,” the Stone Mountain native said. “I’ll have a lot of family and friend there. It’ll be exciting to be back in the Dome, it will be my second time playing there, the first time since high school and I’m looking forward to that. It’s a great atmosphere. Georgia State is a large school so they’ll have a lot of fans there, it’s a young team so there will be a lot of school spirit.”
Whitehead said the team is ready to play the Georgia State Panthers.
“You always want to do well in front of your family and friends, you always want to put on a good show so we’re going down there to do that,” he said. “I’m really excited, we’ve got to be the most excited team. It’s going to be good.”
The Dome is home of the Atlanta Falcons and has a capacity of 71,228.
“It’s a pro stadium and you’ve got that in your mind,” Whitehead said. “A lot of big games happen there: SEC Championships, high school playoffs, you just know that whenever you play in the Dome it’s a big game, so you have to bring your best game and you’ve got to be ready.”
Saturday’s game will be Coach Chris Hatcher’s first time to play in a dome.
“It will be a unique experience,” he said. “Some of our guys played the semi-finals of the state championship in the Georgia Dome and it will be neat.”
Hatcher hails from Macon, Ga., and expects a good showing of support for himself and the team during the game.
“We’ve got a bunch of (friends and family) and a bunch of folks who can get there and I have some good fans who supported me at Georgia Southern and Valdosta State as well so I’m really hoping we go down there and play well,” he said. “We get to play where the Falcons play and close to my hometown, so we’re looking forward to going down to Georgia and putting on a good show.”

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