The days of a week or even two weeks away from parents, siblings, friends and girlfriends for high school football players and their coaches is a thing of the past — especially in this part of Georgia.
Gone too are the time-honored two-a-days, which often were three practices in a day, now that many high schoolers are back in class in the first week, rather than the last week, of August.
“I do miss those days where you can take them off to a camp where a team can bond for a week or two,” said South Effingham head coach Greg Manior. “It just so happens you can’t do that now. We get around it.”
There are still 20 days of practice between today’s first day of official workout and the season opener on Aug. 29. But with school starting Aug. 6, that means teams are limited to one practice a day.
“Back in the old days, it was so easy,” said Manior, a veteran of camps and two-a-days as a player and a coach. “You get up at 6 (a.m.) and feed them and practice, come back at midday and feed them and have a special teams practice and then go back out in the evening and practice. It’s more convenient for coaches to have camp and get that time with the kids. Now, you’ve got to be a little more creative.”
The Mustangs will take to the field Friday afternoon and likely will practice from 3:45-8 p.m. for the first few days, with a 30-minute break.
“We do things we would normally do during a camp,” Manior said. “It gets tough. You don’t try to kill the kids.”
The Mustangs went 6-4 last season, missing the playoffs and losing once by one point and once by two points. They’ve been busy since the end of the school erasing that memory and building for their first year in Class AAAA.
“The summer’s been good,” Manior said.
Many Mustangs went to college-sponsored camps, and the team also took part in 7-on-7 passing league games against Bryan County, Southeast Bulloch and Metter. South Effingham will host Screven County in a scrimmage game Aug. 22 before opening the season on the road Aug. 29 at West Laurens.
“I think our kids learned a lot, and everybody is excited. Everybody’s looking forward to it,” Manior said. “It’s time now.”