There are just 32 days remaining until the kickoff of the 2018 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 couple of weeks 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 two weeks, 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 Leopards are coming off back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time since 1996-97 but for the third time in four seasons they will be under the guidance of a new head coach. Jay Reid takes over for Josh Shoemaker, who guided them to their first-ever playoff win in 2016. Reid helped lead West Hall to its first-ever region title in 2014 as defensive coordinator. However, Banks County will have several key offensive holes to fill, especially with the graduation of running back Clayton Dykehouse and quarterback Trevor Thomas. Reid discussed the changes, how the transition is going, becoming a head coach for the first time, and how they plan to keep momentum headed forward in Homer in 2018.
QUESTION: Coach, this is your first head coaching job but you know the area after spending time as defensive coordinator at West Hall. How has the transition been as far as being the point man of the program and in terms of learning the personnel and getting to know each other?
ANSWER: Banks County is a place that I am definitely familiar with as I began my coaching career here in 2006 and have lived within a short distance of Banks almost my entire life. As far as the transition is concerned, I feel it has gone smooth. Even though I was hired rather late, I was able to get to work a few weeks before the school year ended which certainly helped me begin developing relationships. It takes a great deal of time and effort to get to know one another but I feel like everyone is starting to figure each other out. I know this about our kids, they have good character, work hard, and have been a joy to coach. When filling out the coaching staff I looked for the same characteristics and I feel that I’ve got a really talented and well rounded group of people that I work with.
Q: You have several key spots to fill, especially at running back (Dykehouse) and at QB (Thomas). What have you seen so far and what kind of system will y'all implement to fit with the talent in Homer?
A: (Dykehouse and Thomas) were good ball players but we’ve got some talented guys that I feel could have great seasons and careers. At running back you likely could see big years out of Terrance Walker, Jacob Lehotsky, Sean Hall, and maybe some others. Sawyer Pace has secured himself as the starting quarterback and is a dual threat guy with good running and throwing abilities and he is ready for a breakout year after dealing with injuries during his sophomore year. We will base out of the wing-T on offense and I really feel it fits our kids. We were fortunate to be able to hire Kerry Kidd from North Hall to coordinate our offense so you could expect it to look similar to what people have seen (with the Trojans) with a few new wrinkles to highlight the strengths of particular players. Our main goal is to put our players in position to be successful and give them the ability to play at the highest level possible.
- Up Next in Two-a-Days: BUFORD