Are you ready for high school football?
With the index hovering around 110 degrees area football teams are working though the conditions as they prepare for season opening scrimmages, and in the case of Sherwood Christian the regular season opener this week. Teams had tents and misting fans blowing Wednesday afternoon to give players an area to cool down when needed.
Westover and Lee County start their football seasons Thursday night at home. The Patriots will be in Hugh Mills Stadium to take on Calhoun County and the top-ranked Lee County Trojans will be at home in Leesburg to battle with the Tift County Blue Devils. Both games begin at 7 p.m.
Friday night the Monroe Golden Tornadoes are scheduled to host a scrimmage with Miller County at Hugh Mills Stadium and across town, Sherwood Christian Academy will begin their regular season with a game against Aucilla Christian. Again, both games begin at 7 p.m.
Lee County head coach Dean Fabrizio said earlier this week that a lot of his players would see action during the scrimmage Thursday night.
“We are going to put a lot players on the field,” he said. “We are going to give our guys the opportunity to compete. We still have positions where guys are competing for playing time and we will evaluate and make choices.”
Most of those offensive choices have been made as the Trojans return starting quarterback Kyle Toole along with wide receivers Chauncey Magwood and James Hopson, as well as running backs Christian Frazier, Preston Simmons and new addition Caleb McDowell. A strong offensive line will be led by seniors Parker Rogers and Wing Green.
On defense, all of the big names from a year ago are playing college football now but junior linebacker Baron Hopson is back after being the leading tackler for the Trojans last season as a sophomore.
Efforts to reach Westover coach Olten Downs Wednesday were unsuccessful, but the Patriots will be looking to build on the success of their first year under Downs. Eleven seniors from last year’s team signed college scholarships including Jamie Pettway who is now at Missouri, but senior quarterback Cameron Hopkins is back along with running back La’borris Buchannan, Westover’s big man JaQuan Carter and wide receiver Jordyn Williams. The Patriots should be better on offense this season with a year of experience together under Downs. Westover has 108 players on the roster including 27 seniors.
It’s different story on the southside of town where Monroe will have a new quarterback. David Dillard led the Golden Tornadoes into the state playoffs last year but has graduated. Jordan Edwards and Da’arious Rivers have been working as quarterback through the summer. The team has a number of strong players returning including wide receiver Za’tarious Anderson and running back Robert Doctrie on offense as well as seniors Emon Seay and Lorranger Russell on defense. The Golden Tornadoes have 63 players on the roster including 20 seniors.
Friday night’s season opener for Sherwood Christian should be an interesting test of the Eagles. The Eagles will be taking on Aucilla Christian Academy from Monticello, Fla. Sherwood fell behind early in their scrimmage with Southwest Georgia Academy because of three turnovers but turned things around in the second half and put up 24 points late in the game. Look for explosive plays by the Eagles led by senior quarterback Ketavion Curry, running back Zachary Davidson, and wide receivers Andrew Orr and William Price.