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Productive day for Cavaliers

HOGANSVILLE – They got after it.

The Callaway Cavaliers put the wraps on their summer schedule with an 11-on-11 team camp with Newnan and Villa Rica on Thursday morning.

The three teams were on the field for close to two hours, and it was a full-contact camp, with the players putting the pads on and getting a sense of what life will be like when the season begins in a few weeks.

On Tuesday, it was Newnan hosting an 11-on-11 camp with Callaway and Villa Rica, so those three teams got to know each other well this week, and there was plenty of hard-hitting going on.

Newnan and Villa Rica are both heading into the season with new head coaches, so the players for those teams were looking to make a positive impression.

Chip Walker, who helped lead Sandy Creek to multiple state titles in recent years, has taken over at Newnan, and former Central-Carroll coach Rico Zackery is now the man in charge at Villa Rica.

“I thought it was a great week,” Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said. “We played two good football teams in Newnan and Villa Rica. Coach Walker and coach Zachery do a great job. Both those guys have a lot of tradition with programs they’ve been at. I thought it was a great test for our kids. It was physical. All three schools have really good players, so I thought it was a physical test, and I feel good coming out of it.”

Wiggins added that “there’s a lot of things we have to do better, a lot of mistakes that we’ve got to correct. But going against two quality opponents in Newnan and Villa Rica, we take a lot of good stuff from it.”

The two 11-on-11 camps were part of a busy week for the Cavaliers.

On Monday and Wednesday, the team held its annual ironman competition, with the players participating in eight different events.

The week was a grind, and senior defensive lineman Lichon Terrell said it was important to finish strong on Thursday.

“Today, we wanted to step up and show them an example of how Friday nights are going to be, how physical it’s going to be,” Terrell said. “So the seniors, we were going to be leaders, and get after it.”

As a defensive lineman, Terrell said the padded camps are a better way to prepare for the season than the seven-on-sevens that don’t allow contact and are all about passing.

“For me, I didn’t really do seven-on-sevens,” Terrell said. “This gives me a chance to see how it’s going to be on Friday night. I try to go as hard as I could.”

Wiggins said the players take a lot of pride in the ironman competition, which tests them in a lot of different areas.

“Ironman’s a tradition, and they know what guys who have gone before them have done,” Wiggins said. “They go out and try to compete with themselves and their teammates. And they’re competing against guys from the past. That’s a big deal here. It’s a lot of fun, and we’ve enjoyed this week.”

Callaway will make the transition to preseason practice on Monday, and the players will be on the field at 5 p.m.

Callaway will play a preseason game against Northside-Columbus on Aug. 11 in Hogansville before opening the season against LaGrange on Aug. 18.

The Cavaliers are coming off the best season in school history.

Callaway went 13-1, with its only loss coming to Benedictine in the Class AA final four.