Mundy’s Mill junior Khalid Hylton will get first shot at replacing all-state running back Rodney Smith. He will lead the team in their scrimmage against Tri-Cities on Friday. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
It’s almost here.
Forest Park vs. Therrell, 7 p.m. at Lakewood
Riverdale at Dutchtown, 7:30 p.m.
Tri-Cities vs. Mundy’s Mill, Twelve Oaks Stadim, 7:30 p.m.
Jonesboro at Clarke Central, 7 p.m.
Morrow at Fayette County, 7 p.m.
North Clayton vs. Mount Zion, Tara Stadium, 7:30 p.m.
Drew vs. Lovejoy, Twelve Oaks Stadium, 6 p.m.
After weeks of practicing against each other, teams from the county will get to line up and face players in different uniforms.
All nine teams from the county will play their only scrimmage of the preseason, starting with Thursday’s Forest Park against Therrell game at Atlanta’s Lakewood Stadium.
It will be the head coaching debut for new Panthers coach Reginald Austin, a former NFL player.
Teams spent the majority of the summer working out and playing 7-on-7 games, essentially glorified touch football against an opposing team, but now the full offensive and defensive units will be involved in the scrimmages.
Players and coaches alike are excited, as well as fans, for the long anticipated games. Most will feature the varsity squad for a half or three quarters before giving way to JV players.
It gives coaches a chance to evaluate their players’ progress and fine tune the depth chart before the season-openers on Aug. 29.
“We are definitely anxious to step on the field against someone else,” Mundy’s Mill coach Greg Manior said. “Our guys have been beating up on each other. They are looking forward to beating up on someone else. This gives us a chance to see how we stack up before the real games begin.”
The Tigers, who are coming off a Class AAAAA quarterfinals appearance last season, will host Tri-Cities on Friday at Twelve Oaks Stadium. It will be a tune-up for the season-opener against rival Lovejoy on Aug. 29.
Jonesboro is the only team from the county playing outside of the metro area when it makes the trek to Athens to take on Clarke Central on Friday in Death Valley Stadium at Billy Henderson Field.
The Gladiators have been to the postseason the last eight years, and Jonesboro coach Tim Floyd said that will be a good challenge for his squad.
Jonesboro will be without starting quarterback Zerrick Cooper, who is nursing a knee injury. Cooper, a top junior quarterback in the state, is expected to be ready on Aug. 29 when the Cardinals take on powerhouse Sandy Creek in Tyrone for the season-opener.
Floyd said the staff will use this game to evaluate junior quarterbacks Jason Sears and William Wise, who are locked in a battle for the backup spot. Sears is also the team’s starting linebacker.
“We both needed a scrimmage, and I wanted to give my guys a taste of a hostile environment,” Floyd said. “We will give both quarterbacks a look in our rotation.”