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Friday December 6th, 2019 8:11AM

Two-a-Days: Changes again are biggest offseason challenge for East Jackson

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

There are just 36 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)...

EAST JACKSON

The Eagles continue to have more turnover than an apple pie distributor. But that is not stopping their newest man in charge, Cameron Pettus, from ringing the bell of optimism.

It won’t be easy for Pettus with a program that has had just one winning season in its history (2009, 10-2) and is coming off its 10th-consecutive losing campaign. He will have some talent but building a foundation is his top priority.

 

QUESTION: Coach, you are the fourth head coach now in five years. What are the biggest challenges you are seeing so far in trying to build the Eagles into a consistent winner?
 
ANSWER: The biggest thing is that everybody in the community needs to know that I am here to stay. We will build from the ground up and progress each year. Literally doing the little things right year after year. That is how you build a champion. I believe East Jackson is a diamond in the rough. The facilities are great, the faculty is awesome, the administration is incredible, and the players, parents and community support is phenomenal. I moved two minutes down the road with my family because I love it here so much. 
 

Q: The offensive backfield looks to be a strong suit with senior running back Caleb Adair and senior quarterback Hunter Hardwick returning. How much progress is that group as a whole making in your new spread attack?
 
A: Hunter and Caleb have both done an excellent job along with all our seniors. We also have our line, which is busting their butts and getting better every day. I am excited to watch us play both up front and also with our skill players. We have added more skill players from our basketball, baseball, wrestling, and track programs. Coach Smith, Coach Myers, Coach Gaddy and Coach Sitton have been great at working together to make sure our best kids play more than one sport this summer. We will not be the biggest but we will play fast and confident and take advantage of what the defense gives us. I'm a big believer in playing in the open grass and our team is getting better every day.

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