Each coach introduced key members of their squad and gave a brief description of the team including expectations for the upcoming season. All of them shared what their players had been doing since the last season ended in order to accomplish more this season.
However, it wasn’t all about football.
Creekview coach Terry Crowder spoke of some players missing large amounts of summer workouts because they were playing other sports. He is hoping that his team is able to make up lost ground when they put on pads Aug. 1.
“We didn’t do spring football and that has been really huge,” Crowder said. “We just had so many kids doing other sports that this was just something that we really needed. This summer I haven’t had the entire football team on the field together. I haven’t seen the quarterback, running backs and receivers on the field together.”
Crowder reiterated that he doesn’t mind his players being involved with other sports as long as football comes first starting July 25.
The Grizzlies will also play two scrimmages — one more than any other team in the county — and two more than Etowah, which will not have a scrimmage at all. Creekview will scrimmage Lambert on Aug. 8 and Cherokee on Aug. 15. River Ridge, Sequoyah and Woodstock will also scrimmage on Aug. 15. Sequoyah will travel to scrimmage Woodstock while River Ridge will scrimmage at Pickens. Etowah had an opponent back out of a scheduled scrimmage and was unable to find another opponent. Coach Dave Svehla plans to hold a few extra practices and doesn’t expect the lack of a scrimmage to negatively impact his team.
“We are going to use the time to get some extra practice time in,” Svehla said.
Each of the programs attended at least one camp over the summer and most were active in 7-on-7 passing tournaments and the Cherokee Recreation and Parks Lineman Challenge. In addition to a pair of National Select 7-on-7 tournaments, Cherokee attended a Fellowship of Christian Athletes team camp. Creekview also attended a National Select 7-on-7, but was not at full strength. The Grizzlies were also down a few key players at the Corky Kell 7-on-7 and suffered a couple of severe beatings.
Sequoyah and River Ridge both attended a team camp at Reinhardt, while Woodstock went to two days of camp at Kennesaw State.
In addition to the Reinhardt camp, the Chiefs also participated in a 7-on-7, which they hosted and placed third. Coach James Teter said his team isn’t known for throwing the ball and may never be.
“We threw more this summer than we’ll probably throw in three or four years,” he said.
Woodstock coach Brent Budde spoke with Teter over the summer about the spread offense that his Wolverines began running last year, but it wasn’t enough to convince the “drink the Kool-Aid” as the Chiefs’ coach put it.
“I guess I’m not a very good salesman,” Budde said. “He asked me about running the spread and apparently I scared him away from it.”
The Etowah players also went to FCA camp, but did more together this summer than train for football. Svehla had his players volunteering in the community.
“We were packing food in backpacks for kids in the community that need that stuff,” Svehla said. “We had a tremendous response from our kids on that and we did that every Wednesday all summer long. We are proud of our kids. Etowah is a special place. It’s a family and we try to live that out every day.”
All six of the county’s team will play the first eligible week. Creekview will be the first to kick off as it faces North Paulding at McEachern as part of the Corky Kell Classic at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 22. The county’s other five teams will play at 7:30 p.m. that evening. Woodstock will play at River Ridge; Cherokee will play at Chattahoochee; and Etowah will play at Marietta. With renovations planned for Marietta’s Northcutt Stadium, Svehla said it will be nice to play in the historic field one last time.
Budde, whose voice was already a bit hoarse, said he eager to get into practice with his players.
“We had our minicamp this week where we sleep at the school,” Budde said. “We eat three meals a day at Woodstock High School and the kids have been doing what they need to do to get ready for the season and my voice is trying to get ready for the season as well.”
River Ridge coach Robert Braucht didn’t give many specifics about his team, but did say spectators would notice some differences.
“We have an excitement in the air,” Braucht said. “These young men have just totally taken charge… We have revamped to meet our personnel, so fans will notice that we don’t look the same.”