Catamounts players rally around teammate after tragedy

A.J. Womble plays offensive tackle for the Dalton Catamounts. A few weeks ago a drunk driver changed his life.

NewsChannel 9 ventured down to metro Atlanta for one half of this week's Top Match-up.

Harrison High School in Kennesaw will make the trip to Dalton High School for a Top 10 showdown in AAAAAA football.

Harrison and Dalton are tied for first on top of the region.

A lot is on the line.

But one Dalton player has suffered great heartache in the last few weeks.

His teammates have rallied around him.

As for on the field action, one of the top juniors in the state of Georgia leads the Harrison Hoyas. Quarterback Justin Fields is a 4-star prospect according to 247Sports.

Fields' coach said about 25 schools recruiting him, most of them Power-5 programs that are courting the dual threat quarterback.

That includes Tennessee and Georgia.

Overall, the Hoyas are a complete team. Head coach Matt Dickmann described his team, "I think this is a veteran group which plays together in all three aspects. Special teams, defense, offense. It's not really one person stepping out. The one thing we have on offfense is we have Justin Fields, a phenomenal quarterback."

Quality skill players surround him. Dalton coach Matt Land said Fields knows how to make smart, unselfish decisions. Land noted, "He's not a guy who tries to do it all on his own. He's a guy that distributes the ball well, as well as being the best player on the field and so that's what makes him so dangerous is his willingness to share the ball and put it in other playmaker's hands."

Meanwhile, Catamount A.J. Womble has suffered heartache off the field.

A few weeks ago a drunk driver crashed into his sister's car.

That crash killed her and her two young children.

Womble has a personal way of dealing with his loss. "I pray a lot, try to play through it. I play for her."

His teammates have been there for him.

He believes she's looking down on him. "I say a prayer before the game. Every time we score a touchdown, there's a little thing where I point up to the sky or whatever. But yeah, I try to play for her. I think about her all the time," the big offensive tackle said.

As for the clash of these two 7-0 teams, Dalton quarterback J.P. Tighe will look to MTSU commit Zeke Cobb and Northwestern pledge Kyric McGowan.

Looking introspectively, coach Land said there is an intangible about this team. "This is a group that has a tremendous amount of fidelity with each other. They have a tremendous amount of friendship. It's great to be with them and to be on the field. They have a good time, they love being with each other."

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