By Anthony Rhoads
It's almost time for a fall tradition: high school football.
The season is more than a month away and local squads took to the practice fields this week. Next week, teams will be going at it in full pads in preparation for the 2003 season.
Here is a recap of last year and a glance at local teams:
Eagle's Landing Christian Academy Chargers: The Chargers finished 6-6 and made it to the second round of the GISA Class AAA playoffs. It was the first year the Chargers competed in the highest classification of the Georgia Independent Schools Association.
One big loss for the Chargers will be Jake Hiett, who led the GISA in rushing last season. Hiett is now at Jackson High School and is expected to be a key player there in the 2003 season.
The Chargers open the 2003 season Aug. 22 at home against Monroe Academy.
Eagle's Landing Golden Eagles: The Golden Eagles were 2-8 last season with their only victories against Henry County teams: Stockbridge and Henry County.
The 2003 season will mark the third year of head coach Bob Stinchcomb's tenure as head coach. His first season was in 2001 and he guided the team to a 5-5 record, the second-best season in school history.
One big loss in the 2003 season will be Robbie McLen, who gained more than 2,000 yards in his junior and senior seasons.
Eagle's Landing begins the 2003 season at home in a non-region game against McIntosh. The Golden Eagles open their Region 2-AAAAA slate Sept. 13 at Henry County.
Henry County Warhawks: It was truly a disappointing season at Henry County last year.
The Warhawks ended the season 0-10 in head coach Mike Rozier's second year at the helm.
The Warhawks have not won a game since the 2001 season, when they shut out Forest Park at Tara Stadium.
Henry County opens the 2003 season Sept. 5 at Union Grove.
Luella Lions: The 2003 season marks the inaugural year for Luella, the newest high school in Henry County.
The Lions will play five non-region varsity games this year. They play Kell on Sept. 5 at home in their varsity debut.
Luella is coached by Paul Burgdorf.
Stockbridge Tigers: The Tigers enter the 2003 season with a new coach, Danny Fairbanks. Fairbanks formerly was an assistant for Stinchcomb at Eagle's Landing.
The Tigers have struggled for several years and will try to turn things around this season after a 1-9 campaign in 2002. The Tigers' only victory last year was against Henry County.
Stockbridge opens the 2003 season at home against Monroe Area on Aug. 29.
The team begins its Region 2-AAAAA schedule the following week at Warner Robins.
Union Grove Wolverines: Last year, the Wolverines enjoyed the most successful season in the history of high school football in Henry County.
They captured the Region 5-AA title, went 8-2 in the regular season and advanced to the third round of the Class AA playoffs before falling to Americus.
The Wolverines open the 2003 season Aug. 29 at Jackson.