Preseason practice gets under way
By Kevin Eckleberry
LAGRANGE – The process continues.
Not long after the final games were played for the local football teams last year, they began preparing for a new season.
There are numerous steps along the way.
There’s the offseason strength and conditioning program, spring practice, and the summer workouts and camps.
Now, the Callaway Cavaliers, LaGrange Grangers and Troup Tigers will make the transition to the next stage.
Today marks the first day teams in the state can hold official preseason practice according to the Georgia High School Association calendar.
There will be one week of conditioning before teams can begin holding full-contact drills on Aug. 1.
While LaGrange and Troup will hold morning practices this week, Callaway will practice in the afternoon.
While this is a transition day, LaGrange head coach Dialleo Burks said it is little more than another day on the calendar.
“All (today) is, is GHSA says that you are allowed to go out on the field,” Burks said. “The mentality doesn’t change. We don’t want them to approach anything as if I’ve got to raise my level of expectations. You have to come in with that already set.”
LaGrange will be on the field in less than two weeks against another team.
LaGrange will host Heard County in a preseason game on Aug. 4 before opening the season on Aug. 18 against Callaway.
LaGrange is looking to improve on its 2-8 record from a year ago.
Troup, meanwhile, is hoping to build on the success it enjoyed a year ago.
After winning one game in 2015, the Tigers went 8-3 last season and finished second in Region 5-AAAA.
As the Tigers embark on preseason practice, Troup head coach Tanner Glisson is making sure no one is satisfied.
“We’re not where we want to be yet,” Glisson said. “I always tell the guys, it’ll be harder to stay on top than it is to get to the top. Once you get there, people start gunning for you, and you become circled on the calendar. You’re not homecoming anymore. You’re a tough region game. So that’s kind of where we sit right now.”
Troup will have a preseason home game against Harris County on Aug. 10, and it opens the season on Aug. 17 against Hardaway at Callaway Stadium.
Callaway will practice in the afternoon this week, which has been the case throughout Pete Wiggins’ tenure as head coach that began in 2005.
The Cavaliers finished up their summer schedule with a busy week that included two 11-on-11 camps as well as the ironman competition.
Wiggins said the current players take a lot of pride in seeing how they stack up against some the Callaway greats of the past.
“When you get to an ironman competition, and you hear guys talk about Tez Parks, and KeShun Freeman, and Terry Godwin, and the list goes on, it means a lot to them,” Wiggins said. “There’s a lot of anticipation to each event we do. That means a lot to our coaches, just the dedication these young men have toward our program.”
Lafayette Christian, which will be playing an eight-man schedule this season, is holding it camp this week.
The team is holding two practices a day, and the players will be spending the night at the school through Thursday.
The week finishes with a scrimmage on Friday morning.