There are just 20 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 Warriors in 2019 were perhaps the best 5-5 team in the state to not make the playoffs after having to navigate a brutal Region 7-4A.
But the experience they gained may serve them well after a drop-down to Region 7-3A, which is expected to be wide-open. And with a guy like senior J. Ben Haynes at the helm of the offense, they may be instant front-runners.
Coach Tim Cokely was not shy in saying they have a group that could be special. However, rebuilding the offensive and defensive lines could be the deciding factor.
We asked Cokely if they have found the necessary pieces and his thoughts on what should be a fun region race.
QUESTION: Coach, is finding protection for Haynes up front on offense and guys to stop the run on defense the key to whatever success y’all have in 2020?
ANSWER: Yes. We are young up front but have more size than in the past. We have three returning starters upfront we are counting on to protect J Ben with JD Trowell, Devin Sullens and Jaquez Williams. Up front defensively, we also have three who had significant playing time last year in Alex Garcia, Heaven Gholston, and Tanner Davis.
QUESTION: A new Region 7-3A with many natural local and area rivalries should be one of the more fun, and competitive, playoff races in the area. What do you think will be the deciding factors no matter who the four teams are?
ANSWER: Depth. With the uncertainty of the offseason, the team that can play more guys early and still has success will have an advantage in the long run. We have a lot of experience returning at receiver including Jimmy King, Cooper Turner, Darius Cannon and Alex Thornton. But the deciding factor will be how our four returning running backs -- Riley Stancil, Silas Mulligan, Zon McMullen and Seth Stonecypher -- play.
- Previously in Two-a-Days: WEST HALL