GUYTON — Fans across Georgia are ecstatic that high school football is on track to be played this year.
Several other states, including California and Virginia, have opted not to play this fall because of COVID-19. And with some states moving football to the spring, it’s no wonder people have been waiting on the edge of their seat to see what move the Georgia High School Association would make.
The GHSA twitter page was filled with comments from parents and coaches petitioning it to keep the season. Many breathed a sigh of relief when it was announced July 20 that fall sports would not be cancelled and that football would be postponed just two weeks from the original start date.
South Effingham head coach Nathan Clark is glad to have a little bit of extra time to prepare for this team’s opener.
“I’m really excited that we are going to have a season,” he said. “(I’m ready to) get that thing up and rolling. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
“We’ve been working hard these last couple months in smaller groups. Eventually, we will be able to get out there as a team.
“You are kind of behind at this point of time preparing for a season anyway because of everything that has taken place. It’s limited us, but now with them pushing the season back, it’s going to give us the opportunity to play a little catch-up. (We are going to be) able to practice as a team and tackle and block live bodies. We are going to need all we can get.”
Clark, although an offensive-minded coach, is adamant about ensuring every facet of the game is perfected. His first order of business is to work on special teams.
“I was very worried about special teams coming into the season,” Clark said, “but now with an additional two weeks it gives you a little bit longer to (work on them).”
Since Monday, Georgia football players have been required to participate in conditioning. Monday also the first day of the acclimation period — a crucial time for players to adjust to the sweltering heat.
“You have to have five days of acclimation where you try to get back into the swing of things,” Clark said. “Then after that you are able to start practicing the following week with equipment.”
The Mustangs, coming off a 6-5 campaign in Clark’s first season at the help, are chomping at the bit to get started.
“I’m excited,” Clark said. “The boys have worked as hard as they possibly could. They’ve worked really hard as a team to come in at different times in small groups to get themselves prepared and now they know it’s going to happen.
“There is a lot of excitement.”