That wasn’t the case for one local team.
Creekview opted out of spring practice in exchange for the opportunity to play two scrimmages prior to the season. A new Georgia High School Association rule that recently went into effect gives teams the option of choosing a second scrimmage over the roughly two weeks of spring practice.
Creekview coach Terry Crowder felt the decision was the right one for several reasons.
For one, several key members of the football team — including quarterback Kyle Wilkie and two-way starters Chandler Wold and Dawson Ewers — also played for the Creekview baseball team. And since the Grizzlies advanced into the second round of the state playoffs, those two-sport athletes likely wouldn’t have been available had Crowder run a spring practice.
Crowder also didn’t like the way his team performed in its first game of the 2013 season, his first after succeeding longtime coach Al Morrell. The Grizzlies lost 53-34 to Cherokee, then didn’t look much better in the second game when it narrowly beat River Ridge, 20-19.
“We were so not-good in the first game that I think two scrimmages will be better for us,” Crowder said.
Finally, the Grizzlies are returning 16 starters from last season.
“I’ve got so many kids back, we don’t have as many to evaluate,” Crowder said. “I’m really excited about the kind of football team we will have next fall.”
Crowder said this is the first time in 24 years that he hasn’t been a part of spring practice.
“I just thought I would try it out,” Crowder said. “This is the first year that we have been given that option. I just think that not having those guys for spring practice, and then having two (preseason) scrimmages will get us in better playing shape.”
Creekview has already picked out its two scrimmage opponents, traveling to Lambert on Aug. 8 and hosting Cherokee on Aug. 15. The Grizzlies will then open the regular season against North Paulding on Aug. 22 as part of the Corky Kell Classic at McEachern High School.
That opener is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. start, meaning the teams will be kicking off in the heat.
“We are going to have to be in great shape,” Crowder said. “You have to think that playing two scrimmages would get you in better playing shape.”
Crowder isn’t the only coach who thinks playing two scrimmages makes sense. He said there are about 30 schools foregoing spring practice, including Lambert.
In the meantime, Crowder is keeping in touch with his players. They have a breakfast club three days a week, and the eighth-graders who will join the team as freshmen have starting a weight-training program.
Crowder, however, said he misses active football, and he’s looking forward to the summer when Creekview will participate in a couple of 7-on-7 tournaments at Blessed Trinity and Lassiter.
“Other than that, there isn’t a whole lot you can do,” he said.