Preseason football games on tap
Published 9:17 pm Monday, August 12, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It’s game week.
The 2018 season ended with the Callaway Cavaliers and Troup Tigers both dropping hard-fought games in the state semifinals.
Those two teams, along with the LaGrange Grangers, will be back in action for preseason games this week.
While Callaway and LaGrange will be at home, Troup hits the road for its preseason game.
The regular season begins next week, with Callaway and LaGrange kicking things off.
This week’s games give the local teams an opportunity to take a test run before playing for keeps.
First up will be Thursday’s game between LaGrange and Kendrick at Callaway Stadium.
On Friday, Callaway will host Star’s Mill, and Troup visits Northside-Columbus.
The regular season begins on Aug. 22 with Callaway visiting Opelika, and LaGrange travels to Heard County on Aug. 23 for its opener.
Troup plays its regular-season opener on Aug. 30 at home against Ridgeland.
All three teams began official preseason practice on July 25, and they held their first full-contact practices the following week.
The teams have been fighting the scorching summer heat as they get ready for what they hope will be a memorable season.
Callaway held a scrimmage at the school on Friday, with officials on hand to add a hint of realism to the event.
“It was a difficult practice with the heat,” Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said. “I think that did affect the kids, but I think there were a lot of positives, and we were able to get several of the local referees here, so we gained experience with those guys working the field, and working the practice for us. We’ll be able to see mistakes on film.”
Callaway is coming off another outstanding season under Wiggins, who has a 126-45 record since taking over the program in 2005.
Callaway went 11-3 last year and lost to Rockmart in the state
Troup also enjoyed a special 2018 season, going 12-2 and reaching the state semifinals before losing to eventual state-champion Blessed Trinity.
The Tigers could be poised to do some big things this year as well, although they’re facing a formidable schedule.
Fortunately for the Tigers, more than half of their games will be played at Callaway Stadium where they’ve only dropped two games the past three years.
“I was looking at our schedule, and seven teams on our schedule made the playoffs last year,” said Tanner Glisson, Troup’s fifth-year head coach. “Two of our non-region games with Callaway and Columbus both went past the first round. And of course you have Cartersville. It’s a very tough schedule. The good thing for us is, we play seven games in Callaway Stadium. So we’re tickled to death with being at home, where we play really well
LaGrange, with second-year head coach Chuck Gibbs at the helm, is hoping to improve on its 2-8 record from last season.
Once again the Grangers played a loaded schedule that begins with games against teams that were in the Class AA semifinals last year.
LaGrange opens with Heard County, which won the state title last season.
“We’re starting off with the defending state champions,” Gibbs said. “They’re talented, and they have a great coaching staff, and they’ve been together. Heard and Callaway have staffs that have been together. Their programs are set, and they’re going to be great.”
Also this week, the Lafayette Christian School Cougars will open their season with a game at Lanier Christian Academy in Flowery Branch.
The Cougars will be led by first-year head coach Billy Bryant, who was promoted to the top position following the departure of Nate Shaw.
Lafayette Christian lost in the Georgia Independent Christian Athletic Association state-championship game last year.
Unity Preparatory Academy of West Georgia will continue its season with a game at Creekside on Friday.
Unity Prep opened its season last week with a game at North Georgia.
THIS WEEK’S GAMES
Kendrick at LaGrange, 7 p.m.
Starr’s Mill at Callaway, 7 p.m.
Troup at Northside-Columbus, 7 p.m.
Lafayette Christian at Lanier Christian Academy, 7:30 p.m.
Unity Prep at Creekside, 7:30 p.m.