There are just 29 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)...
The Vikings will obviously have some key changes with the graduation of Clete Cooper at quarterback and several other skilled position players. But the key area of focus will certainly be on the defensive side.
East Hall gave up more than 50 points/game last season, and second-year coach Matt Turner has made improving the defense a top priority. There is some talent for sure in Valhalla, but finding the right combinations could be the key to the Vikings being able to make a playoff run.
We caught up with coach Turner to discuss how his new-look offense is coming along and the progress the defense is making so during summer practices.
QUESTION: Coach, the obvious first question is finding a replacement for Clete Cooper at quarterback. You have a pair of talented youngsters in sophomore Peyton Llewallyn and freshman Jamarcus Harrison. How has that battle gone during the spring and summer?
ANSWER: "Replacing Clete Cooper is difficult to do. He was a productive player for the program over the last three years. But we like the upcoming quarterbacks that we have. Both Peyton and Jamarcus had great springs, and both have been outstanding this summer. They are continually learning, gaining experience in competitions this summer, and getting better every day. We're blessed to have two great kids at that position. We're excited to see them develop and grow as we progress forward."
Q: Y'all have put a lot of focus on the defense, which gave up over 50 points a game last season. Are you seeing some early progress on that side of the ball so far? Who may be some early standouts as well?
A: "Defense has been the focus since the end of last season. We have broken the defense down to the most basic of principles and focused heavily on fundamentals. We have seen some early progress, but we have a long way to go. We know that it is going to take time. Some early standouts on the defensive side are Caleb Pruitt on the defensive line, Sergio Soto and Demariun Tatum at linebacker, and Parker Worley in the secondary.
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