The annual spring game is over, but that doesn’t mean the sweating has ended. Not by a long shot.
Madison County football players know the rigors of Region 8-AAAA football. They know the Division I prospects that loom on opponents’ rosters on any given Friday, the programs that aim not just for a region glory but state crowns.
If Madison County wants to share in the fall glory that awaits at least one region contender, then they know it won’t come easy. And it won’t come without a price. Dues for that special club are paid in the summer. And the check is written in a stinky room with unpleasant sounds of strain — the weight room.
Raider head coach Randell Owens outlined his team’s summer schedule Monday. There will be the weightlifting sessions on Mondays and Thursdays throughout the summer. There will be a passing league in Jefferson on Tuesdays where signal callers and wideouts will sharpen their skills. The Raiders will travel to the University of Georgia for a 7-on-7 tournament in early June, then ride over to Jefferson for another tourney a couple of weeks later. They’ll have a two-a-day camp the last week of July, then start mandatory practice the first week of August.
They’ll finally hit the field Aug. 26 at Flowery Branch.
So, what will the 2011 Raiders look like? Will they bounce back from a disappointing 1-9 campaign in 2010, returning to some of the celebratory times of recent years?
Madison County fans got a sneak peek at the 2011 squad Friday, but let’s face it: any scrimmage is hard to read. Any offensive superlative always opens the opposite question — was the defense lacking? When you’re simultaneously the home team and the visitor, success and failure can become a head-scratcher.
Owens said Monday that he had yet to review the film from the scrimmage. But there were some things that pleased him Friday. He said Trey Carruth “did some good things with the ball in his hands and tackling on defense.” The coach pointed out that TJ Skelton, a rising freshman, had some rough quarterback-center exchanges, but he said Skelton has a way of turning “chicken poop into chicken salad.” Can I get a yum?
“When things broke down, he (Skelton) showed his athleticism and cool head,” said Owens.
The coach said he feels the rising ninth and tenth graders could be a special bunch.
“When they grow up and get in the weight room, they ca be a really strong bunch,” said Owens.
There’s still plenty of time to talk football in 2011. We’ve got those college magazines coming out in the next couple of weeks. We’ll have our annual Pigskin Preview in The Journal in August.
The heat is already upon us — except for that cool stretch this week. Won’t be long till the seasons shift yet again, and bring us that referee’s whistle, the banners, the packed bleachers, the tall tales of yesterday and the new stories written in sweat.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.