Cavaliers working hard in the summer
Published 12:37 pm Saturday, June 8, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Be better than the day before.
For Callaway head football coach Pete Wiggins, that’s the primary goal, no matter the time of year.
The Cavaliers kicked off their summer schedule last week, and Wiggins’ hope is that the team will indeed show progress each day as a new season draws closer.
Callaway has a home preseason game against Starr’s Mill on Aug. 16 before opening the season on Aug. 22 at Opelika.
“The key is to get keep working, and hopefully we can get better each day,” said Wiggins, who is heading into his 15th season as Callaway’s head coach.
For Wiggins, the summer is a key time when it comes to preparing for the season.
In addition to daily workouts at the school, there are position camps, as well as seven-on-seven competitions and 11-on-11 padded camps.
“I think that the summer is instrumental in preparing for Friday nights,” Wiggins said. “In today’s game it’s year-round, so you have to be in the weight room constantly throughout the summer. You’re able to compete in seven-on-sevens, and individual camps, and then team camps. I think it’s priceless as far as the preparation it gives you for Friday night.”
Callaway participated in a seven-on-seven tournament at the University of Georgia on Wednesday, and it has tournaments at Auburn and Georgia Tech coming up the next two weeks.
Callaway also has some 11-on-11 padded camps on tap, including one it will host right before the start of official preseason practice in July.
Next week, Callaway’s offensive linemen will participate in the Mike Hodges offensive-line camp in Cochran.
It’s a camp Callaway’s linemen have gone to for years, and offensive coordinator Matt Napier said it’s immensely beneficial for the players.
The camp could be particularly important this year since Callaway is having to replace three key starters on the offensive line, including four-year starter Keiondre Jones, who will be at Auburn this fall.
“I think we’ll take 22 to Hodges next week,” Napier said. “That’s the biggest group of offensive linemen we’ve ever taken, so we’re looking forward to that. Those guys, they always improve so much down there at that camp, and we get a lot out of it.”
Napier added that “it’s a grind camp. There’s nothing pretty about it. If you want to get better at football, and you want to get mentally tougher and physically tougher, that’s the place you want to go. And that’s a place where we’re proud to send our kids every year.”
The seven-on-sevens will give quarterback Demetrius Coleman a chance to work with his talented group of receivers.
Coleman moved into the starting lineup at the close of the regular season, and he helped lead Callaway to three playoff wins.
“Demetrius, I’ve got a lot of comfort in his knowledge of the game and his knowledge of our stuff, and he just gets better every day,” Napier said. “He’s really coachable. He’s kind of a quiet leader. He leads by example, and I’m really looking forward to coaching him and seeing what he does on Friday nights. I’m proud of him so far, and his work ethic, and he’s made a big impact on our school.”
The Cavaliers are coming off another exceptional season under Wiggins, who has a 126-45 career record.
Callaway reached the state semifinals for the third time in six years, and it lost a 28-22 heart-breaker to Rockmart.
The Cavaliers have been in the state playoffs 13 straight years, and they’ve won at least playoff game in 10 of the past 11 years.
Aug. 16 – vs. Starr’s Mill (preseason game)
Aug. 22 – at Opelika
Sept. 6 – at LaGrange
Sept. 13 – vs. Cross Keys
Sept. 20 – vs. Troup
Sept. 26 – vs. Temple
Sept. 4 – at Bremen
Oct. 10 – vs. Lamar Ccounty
Oct. 19 – at Spencer
Oct. 25 – vs. Heard County
Oct. 31 – at Jordan