There are just 38 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 Bears will be a year older, a year bigger, and a year stronger as they prepare for Season 2. However, they also will still be looking for their first program win in what is expected to be an even tougher Region 7-3A in 2019.
Cherokee Bluff coach Tommy Jones expects to be given no quarter but also feels that they are making progress as a program.
QUESTION: Coach, y’all have a talented group of receivers coming back but will be breaking in an inexperienced quarterback in Mason Thomas. If Thomas can progress quickly, how good could the passing game be this season?
ANSWER: Mason has worked hard this off-season to improve and develop. Like all of our guys, his focus just needs to be on doing his job on every snap. We try to remind our players all the time to spend their energy on things that they can control. We are fortunate to have a big group of guys returning on offense this year. I guess that’s the advantage of being a second-year school. Being surrounded by a great deal of experience should help him a great deal. Obviously from a production standpoint last season, our receivers probably stand out the most. We know that we need to continue to utilize that group to be successful. However, it is equally important for us to have the ability to run it well. Defenses are so well coached now, it is virtually impossible to be one-dimensional.
Q: Most new programs make the most progress from Year 1 to Year 2. Y’all have a brutal schedule, however. Can the Bears get that first-ever program win in 2019?
A: We are so darn proud of our players. It has been an absolute joy to be on this journey and watch them develop on a daily basis. They really work their tails off. Our primary focus is taking everything ‘one at a time’ with excellence. There’s no magic pill or secret formula. It’s always been about the process of sustained commitment and authentic love for each other. We can’t wait to see our guys experience the fruits of their labor. The first locker room celebration is going to be epic. There is no doubt that the Cherokee Bluff Football is being built on a solid foundation. The future here is bright.