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By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

The countdown’s growing short.

When the LaGrange Grangers returned to work on Monday morning after the Georgia High School Association-mandated dead week, they were a little more than two weeks away from the first official day of practice, and their preseason game against Kendrick is about six weeks from now.

Monday was all about getting everyone back in the groove following the week off, and the players worked out in the weight room and on the field under the watchful eyes of head coach Chuck Gibbs and the other coaches.

“We’re trying to get the body back awake,” said Gibbs, who is heading into his second season at LaGrange. “We wanted them to be dormant for the week.”

On Tuesday, LaGrange’s freshmen went to Auburn for a seven-on-seven tournament, and the team has a pair of 11-on-11 padded camps coming up before official preseason practice begins on July 25.

LaGrange’s annual ironman competition will take place the first few days of preseason practice.

“We’ve got a week to get back into it,” Gibbs said. “Next week we spend two days up at Buford and have a padded camp there where we get to compete with seven or eight different teams. And then we come back and host our padded camp on (July 22 and July 23), and on Thursday (July 25) is when our calendar starts.”

In addition to the team activities, a handful of LaGrange players will also be working toward the future by participating in recruiting camps at various colleges.

“We’ve gotten a lot of kids invited to camps,” Gibbs said. “It’s a big camp month for colleges, so we’ll miss having some our starters a couple of days here, and a couple of days there.”

Gibbs has been on the job for a little more than a year, and things are a lot different this summer.

A year ago, Gibbs was still getting to know the players, and he was also busy putting together a coaching staff.

Now, Gibbs has the staff in place that he wants, and he’s able to step back and occasionally take a breath.

“We’re having luxuries now that we haven’t had in the past,” Gibbs said. “The staff’s here, and I can delegate stuff. Last summer, I was everywhere. I was taking freshmen places, and coaching the varsity, and running the weight room. So we’re excited about where we are.”

After going winless in 2017, the Grangers were 2-8 last season, but they were competitive in nearly every game.

LaGrange will try to keep things moving forward this season, beginning with the season opener against Heard County on Aug. 23.

“Things are moving in the right direction,” Gibbs said.