Calendar shift forces change to schedule
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
When the Georgia High School Association opted to push the start date for high-school football back two weeks, it created some scheduling problems for teams with games against out-of-state opponents.
One of those teams is Callaway, which has two games on its schedule against teams from Alabama.
Callaway was supposed to open the season at home against Opelika on Aug. 21, and it has a road game against Dothan scheduled for Sept. 25.
Unless the season in Alabama is also delayed two weeks, Callaway won’t be able to play Opelika or Dothan, which will leave two holes in the schedule.
If Callaway doesn’t play Dothan, it will have three consecutive weeks off before opening its Region 5-AA schedule on Oct. 9 at Haralson County.
If Callaway isn’t able to replace the Opelika and Dothan games, it will play a seven-game regular season instead of the normal 10 games.
Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins is attempting to find replacement games for Opelika and Dothan.
While possibly losing two games is disappointing, Wiggins is pleased to see things moving forward for football teams in the state.
This week, teams were able to put on helmets for the first time since summer conditioning began on June 8.
“It’s been a big deal to put on helmets,” Wiggins said. “Number one, I think it’s a positive sign. It’s a sign that we’re moving forward and getting closer to getting back to things being normal. Monday was a good day. (Tuesday) morning has been positive. So, hopefully we can continue getting better, and hear more good news as far as the opportunity to get back on the field in normal circumstances.”
If Callaway doesn’t play Opelika, its new season opener will be against Troup on Aug. 28, although it does have preseason games against Harris County on Aug. 7 and Darlington on Aug. 14.
The Harris County game will be on the road, while Callaway will host Darlington.
Callaway has opened against Opelika the past two seasons, and each team won on its home field.
In 2018, Cartavious “Tank” Bigsby ran for more than 300 yards as Callaway beat Opelika 35-21.
Last year, Callaway scored a late touchdown to make it interesting, but Opelika held on for a 10-7 victory.
Callaway and Dothan, meanwhile, have never played.
The LaGrange Grangers have also had a change to their schedule, with Greenville replacing Brookstone as a preseason opponent.
Greenville, which is coached by former Troup High standout Tyler Wynn, will play LaGrange on Aug. 21 at Callaway Stadium.
“Brookstone called me several weeks ago and backed out, and Greenville jumped in,” said LaGrange head coach Matt Napier. “They were all about it, and it worked out perfect with them being so close. We’ll do a two-quarter varsity deal with the starters and let the young guys play after that.”
LaGrange has a second preseason game on Aug. 28 at Harris County before opening the regular season on Sept. 4 at Upson-Lee.
Napier was pleased with the GHSA’s decision to go forward with the season, and he could sense the excitement among everyone during Tuesday’s practice session at Granger Park.
“The thought of them coming out and making that announcement got the kids really excited, and it took the doubt out of things with preparation,” Napier said. “So there was a little buzz, a little energy today at practice. It worked out really well.”
Troup’s preseason schedule and regular-season schedule, meanwhile, remains unchanged.
Troup’s first preseason game will be Aug. 21 at Newnan, and it will host Heard County on Aug. 28. Troup opens the regular season on Sept. 4 at Harris County.
Considering how different this offseason has been, which included the cancellation of spring practice, Troup head coach Tanner Glisson is glad to have a pair of preseason games before things kick off for real.
“Us getting two scrimmage games is a blessing,” Glisson said. “Our guys will be excited and ready to play.”
OF NOTE: For more on the local high-school football teams, see Saturday’s sports section