An opponent won’t set foot on Red Raider Field until Aug. 27, when Flowery Branch comes to town.
But Madison County fans got a sneak preview of the 2010 football team May 14, when the school closed out its spring practice with the annual Red/Gray scrimmage.
The gray squad won 21-7.
Madison County head football Coach Randell Owens said he liked some of what he saw, but he compared this point of football preparations to the early stages of baking.
“Right now, what we’ve got is a big bowl of raw cookie dough,” said Owens. “Is that going to make a nice cookie? Well, we’ve still got to bake it just right and add some ingredients. We got a good-looking batch of dough right now, but we’ve got a long way before it comes together. There’s a lot of work to be done.”
Owens said the most impressive play Friday was probably on the defensive side of the ball.
“The real stars of the game were probably the gray defense,” said Owens, noting that Haden Martin, Caleb McCain and Hayes Hill had interceptions.
He added that “Stanquavious Mack did a great job for the red team catching the football.”
With school out for the summer, football players are now expected to turn their attention to strength and conditioning training.
“The biggest thing for them to do is to improve their conditioning — get bigger, faster, stronger,” said Owens.
While Aug. 1 is the first day coaches can require players to attend practices, there will be plenty of voluntary sessions over the summer.
For instance, a number of players will attend a football camp at the University of West Georgia July 19-21.
“Our skill people will be in helmets and shorts,” said Owens of the camp. “And our linemen will be in full pads.”
The coach said the following week, the team will start two-a-day practices from Monday through Thursday.
“It will be in shorts, T-shirts, no pads,” said Owens. “And it will be a lot of teaching fundamentals: offense, defense, kicking game. Then the next week, it will be mandatory and in full pads.”
Meanwhile, skill players will travel to Jefferson every Tuesday this summer to work on the passing game.
“We’ll work on competitive route running and coverage stuff. We’ll work against Jefferson and Gainesville, East Hall and West Hall and some other schools.”
Owens said he will be excited to see senior offensive tackle Kellen Harris, who is rehabbing from a knee injury, back on the field.
“I feel Kellen Harris is going to be strong for us,” said Owens. “He’s a whole lot stronger than he was back when he was a sophomore. He’s continued to work out upper body what he could do and lower body as he was able to while rehabbing the knee. He’s a kid with good character, good work ethic. He’s about 6’4”, 278 lbs., probably our best college prospect for next year.”
Eighty one rising tenth through twelfth graders participated in Madison County’s spring practice, including 28 rising seniors. The Raiders also have 49 rising ninth graders signed up to play in 2010.