Busy week for Cavaliers
By Kevin Eckleberry
HOGANSVILLE – For one week each summer, Callaway head football coach Pete Wiggins and his offensive linemen venture to the middle of the state to participate in the Mike Hodges offensive-line camp.
The camp has become a summer-time fixture for the Cavaliers, and Wiggins said it is an overwhelmingly positive experience for a group of players who are such a vital part of any football team.
The five-day camp wrapped up on Wednesday at Middle Georgia State University in Cochran, and 12 members of the Callaway team participated.
“It’s one of the best camps I’ve ever been a part of,” said Wiggins, who coaches the offensive linemen. “We go down for five days to Cochran, and it’s hot, and there’s lot of gnats. There are 500 kids at the camp, and it’s great competition. When you come back you can’t help but be better. The kids, they work hard every day.”
For each of the five days, there are three two-hour sessions, so the players will have received 30 hours of instruction by the time the camp ends.
“It’s physical, but it’s also a mental challenge,” Wiggins said. “It’s a grind, day in and day out. Coach Hodges, he asks a lot out of the kids, and he asks a lot of the coaches that work it.”
Wiggins said it’s been the same “core group of guys that have been doing it for a long time, and they’re great teachers. I feel like it’s a big part of the success of our football team, and I’m just really proud of our kids.”
Another group of Callaway players, meanwhile, were in Cochran last week for the Hodges quarterback and wide-receivers camp.
Many of those same players were in Athens on Wednesday for the Kirby Smart 7-on-7 passing tournament.
It was a successful day for the Cavaliers, who went 6-1 and reached the semifinals before losing to a team from Miami, Fla.
Callaway won its first six games to win its bracket.
“We beat a bunch of big schools out of Georgia,” said Dusty Hubbard, Callaway’s defensive coordinator. “We beat Parkview. We beat Clarke Central, beat South Cobb. We had a good day, we just kind of ran out of gas (in the semifinals), and they were pretty good, too.”
While there is no hitting involved, it was still a test for the Cavaliers, who spent a lot of time on the field in a short period of time.
“I felt like our kids did a really good job competing,” Hubbard said. “Guys kept getting up and going at it. We didn’t have any guys tapping out. Even in the last game, it was a good ballgame, we just weren’t able to make a few plays down the stretch.”
The Cavaliers were able to take advantage of the facilities on the Georgia campus, and they played a number of their games in Sanford Stadium where the Bulldogs call home on Saturdays during the fall.
“We got to play our first game in the new indoor facility, and then we got to play four games on the field at Sanford Stadium,” Hubbard said. “It was a really good experience for our kids.”
In addition to the camps the Cavaliers participate in, the players take part in daily workouts at the school in preparation for a new season that is getting closer.
Callaway opens its season on Aug. 18 against LaGrange.
“We’ll do some agility work, some weight-room work,” Hubbard said. “With all that, we’ve had really participation. We’ve gotten some guys back healthy that were banged up during the spring. So it’s been good.”