There are just 26 days remaining until the kickoff of the 2017 high school football season. But make no mistake, preparations for the upcoming campaign got underway months ago in weight rooms, sand pits and practice fields throughout the state. And teams throughout northeast Georgia are in full countdown mode.
With that in mind we spent the last few days catching up with programs around our area to get a feel for how spring practice went, how the summer is going and what coaches believe the fall will look like. We call the series "Two-a-Days" in honor of those old-school grinding sessions that lead us out of summer and into fall, asking each area coach two key questions about the state of their respective programs.
Over the next few days, AccessWDUN's Friday Game Night will get you prepped for the start of gridiron action with responses from coaches throughout northeast Georgia. (Teams run in alphabetical order)...
The Panthers are on a run of unprecedented success at the moment, with a four-year record of 32-12 and four straight state playoff appearances for the best such span in program history (Union reached the state playoffs just once in 29 seasons prior to the start of the current streak). This season the Panthers return a senior quarterback in Cole Wright that impressed in his first season of starting in 2016 and certainly caught the eye in the summer 7-on-7 circuits. Union County also appears to have a talented receiver corps for Wright to target, and coach Brian Allison took time to talk about the progress of his quarterback and receivers this summer...
QUESTION: Those who have seen Cole Wright perform this summer in 7-on-7s have been very impressed by his performances. Is he the type of player that can help your team compete for a region title this season?
ANSWER: I think the biggest thing with Cole is that his comfort level and confidence has doubled and tripled, and he's become more comfortable playing the quarterback position -- which, like I said going into last year, he had zero starts at quarterback, and he'd played two JV games as a ninth grader. So just the confidence and the experience has helped him more than anything else.
Q: You've got a quarterback, but who are the guys he's throwing the ball to. Who has impressed you at receiver this summer?
A: I think that's another thing that's been comfortable for him (Wright). He's been around the receivers that he's throwing to for a while now. And those receivers are Logan Dyer, is one of the inside receivers, and Austin Pattee. Those guys are seniors. And then Kanon Hemphill started 10 games last year and has stepped in, and he's a junior. And a couple of sophomores, Kyle Morlock and Sawyer Drake both stepped up. Between the five of them they've the caught the majority of the passes.
- Previously in Two-a-Days: TOWNS COUNTY
- Up Next in Two-a-Days: WEST HALL