Grangers get to put the pads on
LAGRANGE – It was a welcome change of pace.
The LaGrange High football players are in the midst of their summer workout program, and as valuable and critical as that is to the team’s hopes for success this fall, one day isn’t that much different from the next.
That’s what made Wednesday’s scrimmage against Jordan so enjoyable.
Not only did the Grangers get to go up against another team, but it was a full-contact scrimmage, which made the players happy.
“Everybody thinks football, they think hitting,” said offensive lineman Coy Tedescucci. “We come out here at 9 in the morning, get in the weight room, and run, and go over plays. We can’t hit, though. When everybody found out we were hitting, everybody was hyped. Everybody wants to hit. That’s why you play football.”
The players got plenty of work in during the three-hour scrimmage that was held at the Granger Park practice field.
Dialleo Burks, LaGrange’s third-year head coach, said it was a productive day.
“I was pleased,” Burks said. “I had some guys really step up and make some plays. And we made it a point to play everybody, to get everyone a proper evaluation.”
Unlike the seven-on-seven competitions that are so commonplace during the summer that are basically passing competitions, Wednesday’s scrimmage was more like an actual football game.
There were running plays, and there was plenty of hitting, and Burks said it was a great way to get a better feel for where his team stands at the moment.
“It was good going against somebody else,” Burks said. “You kind of measure up to see where you are. Of course we didn’t have on knee pads or full pads. But, you see the way they move around. And they see now that it’s a different pace, once you actually get into the game part of it. Hopefully that’ll encourage them to work harder during the summer.”
Among the players who got ample playing time on Wednesday were quarterbacks Nathan Cronic and Jacoby Smith, who are filling in for the injured LaPerion Perry.
“Having LaPerion out right now is big, but he’ll be back,” Tedescucci said. “(Cronic and Smith) did good. They’re stepping up.”
Cronic and Smith, along with most of the running backs and wide receivers, didn’t get a whole lot of varsity playing time last season, which made the scrimmage so valuable.
One of those players is fullback Cornell Kendricks, who had a long run late in the game where he showed off his speed and power.
Burks said throughout the summer, he and the other coaches will be looking to identify the players who can best help the team this season.
“We’re trying to find what these guys can do well, and make sure that we’re leaving no stone unturned,” Burks said. “We’re trying to get everything out of what we’ve got.”
LaGrange will host a team camp at LaGrange College on Tuesday, and it will host a seven-on-seven competition on June 23 at Granger Park.
LaGrange, outside of the Georgia High School Association-mandated dead week that will take place the week of July 4th, will continue its summer program until July 25 when preseason practice officially begins.
LaGrange will then have two preseason games, one against Heard County on Aug. 5 at Callaway Stadium, and another one at Newnan on Aug. 11.
Then on Aug. 19, it’ll be go time as LaGrange and Callaway face off in the season opener.
There are plenty of steps LaGrange needs to take between now and Aug. 19, and Wednesday was one of them.
“We definitely have room to improve. It’s still early right now,” Tedescucci said. “But I think we’re going to have a good chance this year.”
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports