It’s time for summer football

Published 1:43 am Wednesday, May 30, 2018


Daily News

School is out and summer is here, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to take it easy, not with a new football season less than three months away.

The Callaway Cavaliers, LaGrange Grangers and Troup Tigers will all be busy over the next few months as they prepare for what they hope will be a successful 2018 season.

All three teams held their spring games earlier this month, and after taking some time off, they’ll jump into their summer programs next week.

While every team does things a bit differently during the summer, each program has some common elements.

A daily strength and conditioning regimen is the core of any summer program, and there are also practices, camps, and seven-on-seven competitions.

In late July teams will make the transition to official preseason practice, and soon enough, it’ll be time to play football.

LaGrange opens its season on Aug. 17, while Callaway and Troup kick things off a week later on Aug. 24.

All three teams will play preseason games in early August before the regular season begins.

Callaway and Troup will head into the summer under head coaches who have been in place for at least a few years.

While Tanner Glisson is embarking on his fourth season as Troup’s head coach, this will be Pete Wiggins’ 14th season at Callaway.

At LaGrange, Chuck Gibbs is in his first season as head coach, so obviously this will be his first summer with the team.

While understanding the importance of the summer, Gibbs also wants to make sure he doesn’t put too much on the players.

“We’re not practicing six days a week, for two or three hours during the summer,” Gibbs said. “These kids are high-school kids. They need to enjoy their summer. Hopefully they’ll respond to the leadership.”

Gibbs, harkening back to his time in the military, said “we’ve got to work hard when we’re here, and then we’ll have plenty of time to play hard. That’s my special ops background. Let’s work hard, play hard, and not sit around to sit around. So we’ll see.”

Gibbs got to know his new players during spring practice, and he led the team onto the field for a spring game against Manchester.

The game finished in a 14-14 tie, although LaGrange led 14-0 at the half when the starters were on the field.

“Praise the Lord we didn’t have anybody get injured on either team,” Gibbs said. “And we can go back home and get some film that we can teach off of, and kind of set our summer plans with summer conditioning, as well as what our practice scripts are going to look like, and how we’re going to do the rest of our install.”

A bright spot during LaGrange’s spring game was the performance of the starting defense, which limited Manchester to a single first down in the first half.

Offensively, LaGrange got a touchdown pass from quarterback Sammy Caputo to Dylan Norvell, and a scoring run from Laracco Glaze.

Charles Crawford, who started most of the games at quarterback last season, moved the offense well when he was in the game.

While it was just a spring game, Gibbs felt it was important for the players to see some success coming off a winless 2017 season.

“Everybody starts to buy in when they see success,” Gibbs said.

At Troup, things will be a bit different this summer, due largely to the work going on at the school as a new gym and indoor facility is built.

“We’ll do some different things this summer,” Glisson said. “Because of all the construction, we’ll do most of our things away. We’ll go to Georgia, Auburn. We’ll do a couple of OTAs. We may go to Colquitt, we may go to Jones County. So we’ll kind of be away all summer.”

Troup completed spring practice by traveling to Newnan for a game, and those two teams fought to a 14-14 tie.

Troup is coming off a 9-3 season that ended with a close loss to St. Pius X in the second round of the Class AAAA state playoffs.

While most of the starters from that team return, Troup is having to replace record-setting quarterback Montez Crowe, who will be a freshman at Savannah State this fall.

In the spring game, quarterback Kobe Hudson had a touchdown run in the first half, and he had another scoring run negated because of a penalty.

Defensively, Troup gave up a touchdown on Newnan’s first offensive play, but it didn’t allow much of anything after that.

“It was a really good spring for us,” Glisson said. “We tried to establish a physicality, and I think we’ve done that. Now we’ve got to go back and see the film, and maybe tweak some things from a personnel standpoint, and get ready to kick this thing off this fall.”

Callaway heads into its summer program on the heels of a 33-0 win over Montgomery-Catholic in a spring game at Jacksonville State University (Ala.).

Cartavious “Tank” Bigsby had a pair of scoring runs, including a 77-yard touchdown on Callaway’s first offensive play.

Quarterback Jacob Freeman and LaQuize Gilbert also had touchdown runs, and Javari Thomas returned an interception for a score.

After the spring game, Wiggins gave the players some time off to rest and relax before the summer program kicks off.

“We’ll start into the weight rooms, and the camps, and (preseason) practice will be here before you know it,” Wiggins said.

Callaway went 11-2 last season and made it to the Class AA quarterfinals before losing to Brooks County.

While the Cavaliers lost a talented group of seniors, as they showed in their spring game, they could be poised for another special season. Wiggins’ message to the players is to make every moment count.

“It goes by fast,” Wiggins said. “I tell the kids, I try to tell them every day, how fast their senior year, junior year, sophomore year, freshman year goes by, and to enjoy every minute of it, and make the most of it.”