There are just 23 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 Lions have just one winning season to their credit since reestablishing the program in 2007. But with program-builder Lee Shaw taking over the program in February there has been hope that those days will soon be in the rearview mirror.
But Shaw will have his biggest challenge to date with one of the smallest schools in the Georgia High School Association and a small roster as a result.
We caught up with Shaw to discuss just how he plans to build the Lions and implement his usual schemes that propelled both Flowery Branch and Rabun County onto the state scene.
QUESTION: Coach, you mentioned changing attitude, belief and culture as the biggest challenges facing the Lions program. We know you’ve only had a few weeks with your new team but do you see some positive signs already with those issues?
ANSWER: Anytime a new staff comes into a new program, immediately words such as Attitude, Belief and Culture are discussed so that the program improves. The previous team and staff become dissected and critiqued about what was not accomplished. So with that being said, I want to thank all the teams and staffs that came before this season. A tremendous amount of sweat and heart helped to start the foundation of football at Lakeview Academy. I believe Bodie Blackwell, Christian Haynes, Ben Puckett, Jesse Whiting , John Michael Harrison, Sam Perrott and Luke Cooper are several players that have made a strong commitment to “Burn The Ships” and write a great story for Lakeview Academy football.
QUESTION: You have some young talent. How have things gone in the early going on implementing the schemes you like to run?
ANSWER: We do have some young talent but they lack in Friday night experience, though I’m excited about this senior class especially. They are very hungry for success. Unfortunately, we had an interrupted winter workout program. We were in the process of developing how to respond to physical adversity. Then spring practice was lost, which would have been used to find the strengths and weaknesses of each player, the opportunity to expose toughness, or the lack of it, and the chance to begin implementing (our) schemes. But I’m proud of how the players have not made these past challenges a negative focal point. We have had good attendance in our summer sacrifice program and have made good progress in becoming a competitive football program.