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Tuesday August 9th, 2022 3:56PM

Two-a-Days: Defensive front is high priority for Raiders

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

There are just 27 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)...

HABERSHAM CENTRAL

The Raiders did not suffer through as much reclassification drama as most of the rest of the area, staying put in the now-familiar Region 8-6A. However, they have not made the playoffs since 2020, and if they want to get back to the postseason, they will need to improve an offense that scored just 18 points/game last season, their lowest output since 2014. 

However, their biggest issue during the offseason may be retooling a defensive front that was hit hard by graduation. Coach Benji Harrison discussed both sides of the ball as they steam toward fall practice. 

QUESTION: Coach, y’all took a big hit to graduation along the defensive line. How is the rebuild of that unit coming along so far? Who are some guys that may be ready to stand out on Friday nights?

A: We did lose some guys from the defensive line last year that were very productive. But after having a great offseason, I feel like we have guys that are ready to step in and be very good players. Keller Green and Garrett Turner have had great offseasons, and I believe are ready to go (at defensive end). I also feel like we have some guys along with them that will play huge roles on Friday nights. Thomas Dills and Landen Laprade are doing a nice job at defensive tackle. This group has a chance to be a very good unit.

Q: Y’all also are having to replace your top running back from last year. Who has stepped up during the spring and summer to take the reins in the backfield?

A: Blandon Grizzle, who got significant snaps last year at running back and has had a great offseason as well. He’s faster and stronger and a leader on our team. Hayes Gunn will also play running back and is very capable as well. I think we have a couple more guys that will also get touches.

  • Associated Categories: Sports, High School Sports, Friday Game Night
  • Associated Tags: High school football, Habersham Central football
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