Cavaliers continue preparing for season
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The Callaway High football team, after taking some time off for the Georgia High School Association-mandated dead week, returned to work this week in preparation for a season that’s a little more than a month away.
Callaway is supposed to open the regular season on Aug. 21 against Opelika after playing a pair of preseason games, although there are no certainties because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Cavaliers are going full-speed ahead as if there will be a season, though, and head coach Pete Wiggins is looking forward to things opening up even more for football teams in the state.
“We’re taking small steps, and hopefully we’ll get the green light soon, and we’re hoping that there are a lot of success stories around the state and we’re able to get back on the field on Friday nights,” Wiggins said. “I’m looking forward to that day.”
Teams were able to begin voluntary summer workouts on June 8 with small groups, and with plenty of restrictions.
Teams have been permitted to do more as the summer has gone along, and this week more restrictions were lifted.
Teams can begin holding intra-squad competitions such as seven-on-seven drills, although contact still isn’t allowed and players can’t wear helmets or pads.
Also, players are able to move from group to group, something that wasn’t permitted during the first three weeks of summer workouts.
“We’re on the field more this week,” Wiggins said. “We’re still doing our normal weight-room routine, but we’re getting more time on the field, and I’m looking forward to that. Hopefully we’re preparing for the first ballgame in less than a month.”
Through the first three weeks of summer workouts, the players spent most of their time in the gym, or in the weight room.
That’s changing this week with the easing of restrictions.
Following Tuesday’s workout, Wiggins said “today was great. We got really good reps, the kids’ attitude were really positive. It was a good practice, and it was good to see the seniors. They were excited to be out on the field working together, and just getting better.”
Dusty Hubbard, Callaway’s defensive coordinator, said “we did some seven-on-seven stuff, and actually got some bags out. It was good to be able to do that stuff. It feels more like football.”
At the start of summer workouts, groups couldn’t have more than 15 people, and that included players and coaches.
Group sizes have since increased to 50, and that has allowed the days to be shortened at Callaway.
“We’ve got groups that go from 8 to 10, 10 to 12, and 12 to 2,” Wiggins said. “We’ve got it arranged so we don’t have that last session from 5 to 7 anymore.”
Voluntary summer workouts will continue through July 27 when mandatory preseason practice is supposed to start.
Callaway, if everything goes on as scheduled, will play preseason games against Harris County on Aug. 7 and Darlington on Aug. 14 before beginning the regular season on Aug. 21 against Opelika.
Callaway is coming off another exceptional season under the leadership of Wiggins, who is 138-47 in 15 seasons.
Last year Callaway went 12-2 and reached the state semifinals for the second straight season and for the fourth time since 2013. Callaway lost its season opener to Opelika before winning 12 straight games, and the season ended with a 39-35 loss to Brooks County in the semifinals.