Football scrimmages allow fans first look at teams

The day has finally arrived for Drew cornerback Jadarius West and his teammates.

Tonight, when he faces a wide receiver, it will be someone other than a teammate. Teams from across the Southern Crescent will play scrimmage games in preparation for the upcoming season.

Drew, which will be playing its second full varsity season, will take on Riverdale tonight at Southern Crescent Stadium.

"I've just wanted to fast-forward to Friday all week," said West, who has scholarship offers from South Carolina and Kentucky.

For Riverdale, it will be the first time fans will get to see the Raiders under new coach Olten Downs, who replaced Nick Davis. Downs was a defensive coordinator at powerhouse Carver-Columbus before accepting the position at Riverdale.

Davis left during the offseason for a similar position at Spalding High.

While it is only a scrimmage, this game is being billed as the "Battle of Riverdale" both teams.

Mundy's Mill coach Peniel Dany said his team is also looking forward to seeing someone in a different uniform after two weeks of going against each other.

"You just get tired of beating up on yourself each day," Dany said. "We are looking forward to this game. We are treating it as a dress rehearsal. We are going to keep it real vanilla and run just our base plays. If you can't run your base plays, they are you in trouble."

While the bulk of the teams in the area will play this weekend, several teams will play their scrimmages next weekend with the regular season slated to start on Aug. 26.

Luella will again get an early jump on the season with its opener against visiting Villa Rica next week.

Scrimmages are optional, and most coaches schedule one to give gauge their team's progress coming out of preseason practice.

"We are still kind of inexperienced on offense, but we've just got to find a way to play better, coach better and represent Union Grove football better," said Union Grove coach Paul Burgdorf, whose team takes on Jackson tonight.

There are about 10 schools that will not play preseason scrimmages, including defending Class AAAAA champion Brookwood.

"We have done it in the past, but it has been more like a practice than a full-tilt scrimmage," Brookwood coach Mark Crews told Georgia High School Football Daily. "Special teams were live only until the ball was kicked, no full returns, etc. We did normal game procedure for a couple of quarters, then about five minutes each on third-down and goal-line situations."

Dany said holding scrimmages two weeks before the start of the season will allow him and his staff to make some corrections before the games count. Teams in Region 4-AAAA will again play a 10-game region schedule.

"We will use the week after the scrimmage to make corrections and fine tune our gameplan," Dany said. "You just want to tweak some things and get ready for the season."