There are just 28 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 Red Elephants extended their playoff streak to 20 consecutive seasons last year but they still have not posted a winning record since 2015.
With a move up to Class 7A in 2020, some may think the first streak could end and the second continue. But the Red Elephants shift into Region 6-7A could actually increase their chances to achieve both.
And coach Heath Webb, now in his third season, feels they are poised to do just that with a talented and experienced group.
QUESTION: Coach, the Red Elephants over the years have been known for quick, hard-hitting defenses that most offenses feared. With guys like Yusif Ali and Quamaine Rucker leading the way in 2020, are you close to having that kind of unit again?
ANSWER: We think we've got that unit. We lost some size from last year's defense but we've replaced it with speed. We also have a lot of experience returning. That in itself makes guys play faster -- less thinking equals fast feet. This unit reminds me more of the old Gainesville defenses I used to coach against. We have plenty of unit speed and good depth to go with it.
QUESTION: Y’all have said you wanted to play in Class 7A. As the season draws closer, is the excitement of playing in the state’s largest classification also building among coaches, players, and fans?
ANSWER: We've been excited since the day it was announced. As a team, the offseason has allowed us to dig deeper into our opponents, which has only fueled the fire for our new competition. Our fans are curious because they don't recognize some of the names on our schedule so that has brought some intrigue for our fan base. We're all excited because 7A football in the great football state of Georgia is as good as it gets in the country. We want to be a part of that.