There are just 39 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 Wolves are under new, old management with the promotion of long-time assistant Bryant Appling, who is tasked with bringing the perennial playoff power back to uber-elite status. The last two seasons have seen their streaks of finals and semifinals appearances come to an end.
Appling, who joined Dexter Woods’ staff in 2004 and never left under Jess Simpson and then John Ford the past two seasons, has been an integral part of building the “Buford Way” that helped push the Wolves to national stature. They are talented once again and Appling is hoping they can get back to their old ways of doing things.
QUESTION: First off, coach, how are the guys as a whole responding to your bringing back some of the mainstay traditions -- the Buford Way of doing things, so to speak -- that defined many of the great Buford teams?
ANSWER: It has always been about "the process" at Buford since I've been here. This group is doing a great job of moving towards understanding our expectations and the values that have been the foundation of our program since Coach Wood took over in the late 90s. The great thing is that we have men surrounding these kids that have "been there, done that" so to speak with Buford football and are preaching these expectations to these kids consistently and pouring it into them on a daily basis.
Q: I guess the biggest on-the-field question is how is the battle coming along in finding a starter at the quarterback position? Has any of the group of six -- last year’s backup, junior Jarvis Evans, junior Amari Wansley, sophomores Will Hartness, Ashton Daniels, and Dylan Lesko, and freshman Dylan Whitke -- begun to emerge so far?
A: We have a really good group of six players that are continuing to work hard every day this summer. At this time, it continues to be a competition. We have the luxury that we feel like several are capable of doing a great job at the position and leading our offense. The decision is still a ways off and we continue to evaluate and compete on a daily basis.