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Coaches use scrimmages as chance to evaluate

Photos by Derrick Mahone
Henry County coach Joe Dupree will make his heading coaching debut tonight when the Warhawks travel to Ola for a 7:30 p.m. scrimmage. Dupree is the former offensive coordinator at Westside High in Macon.

Photos by Derrick Mahone Henry County coach Joe Dupree will make his heading coaching debut tonight when the Warhawks travel to Ola for a 7:30 p.m. scrimmage. Dupree is the former offensive coordinator at Westside High in Macon.

Teams get their first taste of the upcoming season tonight as they participate in scrimmages against opposing teams.

While a handful of games, including Dutchtown at Eagle’s Landing Christian, were played on Thursday, the majority of the scrimmages will take place tonight around the state.

“I’ve definitely been looking forward to this moment,” Henry County defensive end Terrance Waugh said. “At night, I’ve been playing the game over in my head.”

Although the scrimmages don’t count in the standings, coaches bring different philosophies to their approach for the practice games.

“I’m looking for some toughness out of our team,” said Drew coach Jarrett Laws, whose team will go up against North Clayton tonight at Southern Crescent Stadium.

“Everybody in Clayton County knows that North Clayton is a physical team, and they will hit you,” he said. “I want to see how my team responds.”

Union Grove coach Paul Burgdorf will be breaking in several new starters this season. He said he is also looking at how the young players will react to their first taste of competition when the Wolverines travel to Eagle’s Landing tonight.

“For a lot of guys this is their first varsity game,” he said. “I want to see how the young guys react. We have had a pretty good battle at quarterback between two sophomores. We will use this game as a chance to evaluate, because we have moved some guys around. It is also a chance to see how good we have coached them up.”

Jonesboro and Lovejoy decided to schedule games against some traditional playoff contenders.

After a trip to Florida fell through during the summer, Jonesboro coach Tim Floyd went looking for an opponent. He found that Thomas County Central, a traditional powerhouse in South Georgia, was available.

The Cardinals will leave the school this morning for the trek to Thomasville for the 8 p.m. kickoff.

“We are going to go out and prepare like it’s a game,” Floyd said. “We want to win, but our main goal is to come out healthy. We are not going to take any chances and get banged up.”

He said varsity players will be used for the first three quarters with the jayvee players finishing the game.

Lovejoy, a state finalist in AAAA last season, will travel to Duluth to take on Peachtree Ridge, a perennial playoff contender.

“People have criticized us and said we don’t play anybody,” Lovejoy assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Kevin Jones said. “This year we have a tough schedule. This will be a good game for us.”

The Wildcats have a regular season schedule that includes non-region games against Alpharetta, Colquitt County and East Coweta.

Several new coaches will be making their head coaching debut this weekend, including Ervin Starr of Mount Zion, Joe Dupree of Henry County, Don Williams of Forest Park, Greg Manior of Mundy’s Mill and Leroy Foster of Morrow.

“It is definitely exciting,” said Dupree, a former standout quarterback at Georgia Southern. “I’m really looking forward to it.”

Manior and Foster are the only two of the group that have previous head coaching experience on the varsity level. Manior has been the head coach at South Effingham, Savannah and Screven County. Foster had previous coaching experience at two stops at South Florida high schools, which produced three state titles.

He just signed his teaching contract this week.

“We are not at the point where we need to be,” Foster said. “We will see what we need to do to fix it.”

Scrimmage games

Today

All games start at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted

Arabia Mountain vs. Forest Park at Tara Stadium

Jonesboro at Thomas County Central, 8

Lovejoy at Peachtree Ridge, 6:30

Luella at Stockbridge

North Clayton vs. Drew, Southern Crescent Stadium, 7

Woodland at Jackson

Union Grove at Eagle’s Landing

Locust Grove at Strong Rock

Henry County at Ola, 7

North Springs vs. Mundy’s Mill at Twelve Oaks Stadium

Saturday

Morrow vs. Mount Zion, Tara Stadium

August 24

Riverdale vs. Carver-Atlanta at Lakewood Stadium