There are just 31 days remaining until the kickoff of the 2020 high school football season. But make no mistake, despite the COVID-19 outbreak, swirling uncertainty since April, and the cancelation of spring practice, preparations for the upcoming campaign have been underway throughout the state since early June. 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 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 have been the talk of the offseason in the new Region 7-3A. They snagged their first-ever wins in 2019 and bring a load of experience, and rising talent, into the 2020 campaign.
They already had the region’s top running back in Jayquan Smith and added Riverside Military Academy standout Shad Dabney (transfer) in the offseason. With that, the Bears are now being considered a serious region title contender in just their third season.
We asked coach Tommy Jones how they are dealing with not only a talent upgrade but with heightened expectations.
QUESTION: Coach, y’all had what many would consider a tremendous second-year campaign. Now, there is a lot of chatter in the region about the Bears being a title contender. Do you think y’all are ready to be put into that category?
ANSWER: From day one, we have talked about the process of building a program one brick at a time. To focus on the things that we can control. If there is anything that we have all learned over the last four months is that tomorrow is not guaranteed. So our message this summer has been to make the most of every day. To enjoy the journey and live in the moment. There are some incredible football teams in our region. While we unapologetically have very high expectations, we don’t really talk a lot about our record, wins, championships, etc… We are making progress but still have a long ways to go. We are excited about the opportunity to take another step.
QUESTION: Jayquan and Shad in the same offense could give y’all one of the best 1-2 combinations in northeast Georgia. How fun could this offense be to watch this season and how explosive to you think it can be?
ANSWER: Jayquan and Shad are both excellent football players with the ability to create explosive plays. They are really fun to watch. But the thing that makes them both special is an unselfish commitment to our culture. They both understand that their primary job is to make our team successful. One of the benefits to being such a young program is that we have a slew of players with significant experience and production. And we are going to need every one of them in order for us to be the absolute best we can be this season.