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Monday November 28th, 2022 7:23PM

Two-a-Days: Leopards focusing heavily on QB, LB battles

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

There are just 32 days remaining until the kickoff of the 2022 high school football season. But make no mistake, preparations for the upcoming campaign got underway months ago. And teams throughout northeast Georgia already 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. Our "Two-a-Days" series honors 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)...

BANKS COUNTY

The Leopards are still looking for their first non-losing season since 2016. In his fifth season in Homer, coach Jay Reid feels they may be ready to end that streak. They will be young across the board but also have valuable playing time in 2021 due to injuries and COVID-related absences. The better news is that the numbers are way up for the Class 2A program, doubling their roster size into the 60s as things steam toward the fall.

We caught up with Reid to see how things stand in the heat of the summer and see if they have answered some of their bigger question marks.

QUESTION: Coach, how is the quarterback battle shaping up between senior Caine Griffith, the early front-runner, and sophomores Clay Smith and Kolby Watson, and freshman Brodie Stafford?

ANSWER: "It's been a pleasure to watch those guys compete and grow each and every day. The interesting thing is each of them have a particular skill set that is very unique. Caine has a tremendous grasp of our offense and is one of the most savvy players I have had a chance to coach. His knowledge of football sets him up for success time and time again. Clay possesses a tremendous ability to make plays with his legs and, at any moment, can make a shifty move and break away, which also helps him extend plays in the passing game. Kolby has a tremendous arm and can make throws all over the field; as his knowledge of the game and confidence in his skill set grows, he will open a lot of eyes. Brodie is a physical football player and loves running the ball downhill, which gives an offense the ability to gain a numbers advantage in the box. He combines that with a very quick release and good instincts, which makes him difficult to defend. The great thing is each of these guys can play multiple positions on offense and defense as well. As far as a starter is concerned, I believe it's still early on. A lot can happen, and I believe each of them could see time there on Friday Nights."

Q: The defense has been looking to fill some key holes at linebacker. Who are some guys that have impressed you so far into the summer?

A: "We've had several guys step up and play well there over the past month. Cam Cooper and Andrew Shockley are really explosive guys at that position and can make plays from sideline to sideline. Mason Dodd and Jonathan Shubert have continued to make improvement and are both solid options in between the tackles. Some others that have come on strong are Kaz Oliver, Jacob Mobley, Brady Hebb, and Bray Williams, who are all becoming viable options. Davian Knox and Brodie Stafford, two talented freshmen, have done some nice things in there as well and could both see some action (on Friday Night Lights)."

(Click PLAY.above to see the video:)

  • Up Next in Two-a-Days: BUFORD
  • Associated Categories: Sports, High School Sports, Friday Game Night
  • Associated Tags: High school football, Banks County football, Two a days
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