Photo by Derrick Mahone
Lovejoy offensive coordinator Craig Chatman likes the idea of coaching the week after participating in a high school final. “If I do this from here on,” Chatman said, “it won’t bother me a bit.”
There is nothing anticlimactic about the Clayton County Senior Bowl, not even to the Lovejoy contingent that helps make up the South team.
A week after losing to Tucker in the Class AAAA final at the Georgia Dome, Lovejoy seniors were back on the field, looking for another game to win.
This time, however, they were paired with guys who have spent most of their time as their rivals. Players from Lovejoy, Jonesboro, Mount Zion and Mundy’s Mill make up the South team that will take on the North — made up of players from Drew, Forest Park, Morrow, North Clayton and Riverdale — on Saturday at Twelve Oaks Stadium.
Lovejoy’s Al Hughes will coach the South team, though he left Thursday night to tend to a death of a beloved aunt. In the meantime, Hughes’ Lovejoy assistants and coaches from the other schools used a practice at Twelve Oaks Stadium to try to form a cohesive unit.
That isn’t easy when you’re guarding classified information. Who inadvertently wants to reveal his team’s secrets to the rest of the county?
“Nobody wants to give up anything they do,” Lovejoy offensive coordinator Craig Chatman said.
So practice is a pretty straightforward thing, all the more necessary since the preparation time is short.
“It’s about making sure where to line up and what to run so that the kids look good on Saturday,” Chatman said.
Opportunities abound in this game, where college scouts are expected to attend.
“There’s supposed to be a whole bunch of people,” Chatman said. “There’s going to be a chance for some guys to play where they want to play. Maybe they didn’t have the chance during the regular season.”
Marcus Hathorne of Lovejoy, for example, likely will get a chance to showcase his skills at a number of positions. A shoulder injury limited his playing time during the season, but he could see action at cornerback, safety and wide receiver.
The players seemed to enjoy coming together as much as the coaches enjoyed getting a chance to see what unfamiliar talent can do.
“It’s basically pure football,” Lovejoy wide receivers coach Eric Habelt said.
Immediately after practice, players received their game jerseys for Saturday. The South will wear navy blue with white lettering and numbering, while the North will wear white with navy lettering and numbering. There were a few minor snags, a misspelled name here or there, but players seemed genuinely excited about competing again.