There’s just something special about the sound of pads colliding for the first time.
Football season is officially here, and Brunswick High marked the occasion Thursday with their first padded practice session.
The Pirates strapped up and took to the practice field to get in some work as the start of the regular season draws ever closer.
“I thought it was a pretty good day,” said Brunswick head coach Sean Pender. “They got after each other pretty hard. There’s still some things we need to work on consistency-wise, but overall, I thought it was a very positive day.”
Excitement was high as both practice fields at Brunswick High School were put to steady use — skill positions going through skeleton work on one field and the linemen competing in the classic Oklahoma drill before coming together for team work.
There was plenty of chatter between both sides of the ball as each took their turn asserting themselves in 11-on-11s. Quarterback Anthony Mountain in particular razzed first-year defensive coordinator Thomas Tedder after dropping a dime for a touchdown on a seam route.
But the trash talk was just an extension of what’s gone on all summer as the team is still two weeks away from hitting an opponent when Brunswick scrimmages Beach on Aug. 16 in Savannah.
“They’ve been just competing against each other, and we’ve got a couple more weeks of doing that before we get to see an opponent,” Pender said. “As long as they understand that at the end of it, they’re all one team, I like the competitiveness.”
Wrapped in a red non-contact jersey and sporting a pair of knee braces, Mountain had a strong practice as he works his way back from an ACL injury. The senior signal caller showed off a strong arm and a delicate touch during his reps, and a deep knowledge of the playbook when it was time to work with sophomore Jeffery Waye.
Mountain won’t play in the scrimmage and he’s likely to miss opener against Coffee. Second string quarterback K.J. Lee is still in a walking boot and won’t be back until Week 3 at the earliest, leaving the early season duties to Waye.
The former receiver began taking reps at quarterback this spring, and he’s continued to develop as he learns the intricacies of the position. Mountain has also done his best to prepare Waye for the fire he’s soon to face.
“Anthony is a wonderful leader,” Pender said. “He’s been very good to our young quarterbacks. He’s help bringing them along with the verbiage and just letting them know how important it is to be a student of the game, especially at that position.
“Anthony’s leadership is invaluable.”
Over the summer, Brunswick touted its ability to cycle through six different jersey combinations this upcoming season, but they sported more new digs Thursday.
The Jacksonville Jaguars’ equipment manager provided football pants, adorned with the team’s logo, for the Pirates.
“They gave us some extra stuff they were going to throw away, so we took them,” Pender said. “And they’re really thin. If you hold them, they’re like shorts, but yet they have pad stuff in them.
“I don’t know how long they’ll last because they’re so thin, they’ll probably tear easy, but we’ve got them now and we’re going to use them. It’s a way to keep our kids a little bit cooler.”
But looking good in itself won’t lead to a winning season. If the Pirates are to return to the Class 6A playoffs they’ll need to find the best versions of themselves.
“The thing that we’re looking for out of our team is consistency,” Pender said. “We have times where we look really, really good. Then we have other times where we look like we’re still struggling.
“We want to get that consistency factor where we’re always looking good. We do have the potential to be a playoff team, but it’s potential. Potential without performance gets you fired.”