Wednesday June 19th, 2024 12:07AM

Football: Spring practice continues through end of the month; FGN crew has questions

By Bo Wilson Sports Editor

It's that time of the year: spring football practice is officially underway.

Twenty-three high school football programs in the AccessWDUN coverage area will take part in spring drills this year. 

Dawson County, Commerce, Johnson, and Towns County are not holding spring practice this year; Union County and Lumpkin County began drills last week, and Cherokee Bluff, Flowery Branch, Jackson County, Jefferson and North Forsyth, Buford, East Forsyth, East Jackson, Gainesville, Habersham Central, Lanier Christian, North Hall, West Hall and White County began practice this week. The rest of the field will kick off next week. 

The Georgia High School Association allows its football programs to hold 10 days of practice. Those practices are not required to be on consecutive days, and all but six area programs are holding a game to end spring practice. 

The Friday Game Night crew shares what they are looking for during spring practice this year. See below. 

I'm most interested in; you might have guessed, what Lumpkin looks like this season on the offensive side of the football. Last year, it was the Mason Sullens show with the senior-laden offensive line. Now that Sullens and that offensive line will have walked across the stage and graduated, how does the potent offense led by Cal Faulkner come back and try to repeat last year's undefeated regular season, especially in a region that will see them take on many teams who played 4A ball last year? Spring football may not show us much, but it will show us how much depth the Indians might have at running back and offensive line.

I'm curious about who will lead some of these dynamic offenses in the area. Gainesville has to replace its top four playmakers from 2023, and Buford will also be looking to replace guys at quarterback, running back, and wide receiver. North Hall will have a new quarterback in year 3 under Sean Pender, and Branch will also be replacing its quarterback, running back, and top receiver from last year.

It will be interesting to see who gets some of the initial looks during spring for all of those teams as they try to get ready for 2024 and new regions and classifications.

I'll start in Jefferson. Who will pick up the massive load and void Sammy Brown has left? Brown is now at Clemson, and the Dragons will have to replace a whole bunch of rushing yards and tackles, not to mention the force he was in the second level of the Dragons' defense. Secondly, we all know Gainesville has playmakers and several Power 4 guys returning on both sides of the ball, but who will play quarterback, and what will the backfield look like? Union County loses several playmakers. What will it look like in Blairsville this year? And Buford... wow, the Wolves haven't won a state championship in two years. They're still in the largest classification and will be looking to replace quarterback Dylan Raiola, who is now at Nebraska, and defensive back KJ Bolden, who is now at Georgia, among other key spots. Can the Wolves break through this year? Of course, there are questions about last season's playoff teams in Hall County. North Hall has to find a quarterback, running back, and some receivers and Flowery Branch has some huge question marks, losing its two top receivers, quarterback, and leading rusher. 

I'm looking forward to seeing what spring practice produces. Will it be the answers we're looking for right now? Probably not. However, it's a great way to start the 2024 season and kick off summer workouts and practice. 


Banks County at Chestatee, May 23, 7:30 p.m.
Norcross at Buford, May 9, 7 p.m.
Cherokee Bluff at Jackson County, May 16, 6 p.m.
East Forsyth at Lumpkin County, May 10, 6:30 p.m.
East Hall at White County, May 17, 7:30 p.m.
East Jackson at Oglethorpe County, May 16, 7 p.m.
Flowery Branch intrasquad scrimmage, May 15, 6 p.m.
Gainesville at North Gwinnett, May 16, 7 p.m.
Stephens County at North Hall, May 17, 7 p.m.
North Forsyth intrasquad scrimmages, May 8 & May 16, 6 p.m.
Rabun County intrasquad scrimmage, May 16, 5:30 p.m.
Apalachee at West Hall, May 16, 7 p.m.

  • Associated Categories: Sports, High School Sports, Friday Game Night, Top Sports Stories
  • Associated Tags: High school football
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