There are just 31 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 War Eagles' season was much better than their 3-7 record in 2021. They were just three plays from a winning season and a trip to the Class 4A playoffs. And as they prepare for the 2022 campaign, they will be in rebuild mode after graduating most of the defense, their quarterback, and several key skilled players on offense.
However, longtime coach Shaun Conley said there is still talent off Sardis Road, including sophomore Josh Kermode, who may be the next War Eagles star under center. We caught up with Conley to ask how the progress is coming along during the summer.
QUESTION: Coach, y'all will be having to replace the bulk of the defense this season. How has that transformation been coming along this summer?
ANSWER: "Defensively, we did lose a ton of kids, especially up front, but we do have some returning defensive starters that were huge contributors last year as well as some younger kids that gained playing experience. Due to our numbers being small, it almost forces us to play and develop our younger players much quicker than some other schools. We have both inside backers as well as a couple of secondary guys that are returning starters. That is what we have tried to build on this summer ... just getting the right people in the right spots to complement the returners. I felt like the spring was very beneficial this year, allowing us to just "try" some different spots for several players. It is a work in progress, but I feel like we are on the right track."
Q: At quarterback, you have a guy in sophomore Josh Kermode who got to learn a lot behind Luke Bronhorst last season. How quickly has he been able to pick up the offense so far?
A: "We have been fortunate the last few years to have a player with experience at quarterback. Christian Charles then Luke Bornhorst, both of which did a great job for us both on and off the field. All of our quarterback's relationships have been one you want as a coach -- the older guy was always more than willing to help the younger guy when the chance presents itself. By our older guys being willing to help out the younger ones, I believe our younger guys are much more prepared mentally when it is their turn to take over the offense. Now it's Josh Kermode's turn, and we expect nothing less from him. Josh, like the other two, is a student of the game. He is very intelligent and picks up things super quickly. Josh's advantage right now, I believe, is his size and arm strength. He has had a tremendous off-season in just showing improvement each day. Josh is a talented young man that loves the game and is super competitive. Usually, those traits transfer into a pretty good player. Hopefully, he can stay healthy and be productive for us...he has a chance to be a really good player."
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