The game doesn’t count in the standings, but high school football squads from around the area will unofficially kick off the season with scrimmages this week.
Camden County will host Ware County today while Brunswick High, Glynn Academy, Frederica Academy and McIntosh County Academy play on Friday.
Camden players were preparing for the first full-contact scrimmage of the season Aug. 3 when lightning forced the team off the field.
Coach Bob Sphire said the cancellation of the annual Blue Light scrimmage was a “setback” because it deprived him and fellow coaches of a chance to evaluate players as the offenses and defenses faced each other, including two players he moved from offense to defense.
The Wildcats will try to scrimmage again today against Ware. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Chris Gilman Stadium in Kingsland.
“We’re still looking for a lot of competition out of our players,” Sphire said. “We had a chance to get a look at players in the Blue Light game until lightning strikes, so we had to shut it down.”
Today’s scrimmage will be similar to a real game scenario with the referees and clock, though players on both teams will be restricted on hits to the quarterbacks. In the fourth quarter, the junior varsity players from both teams will face each other.
The scrimmage will help coaches determine the starting quarterback, where as many as four players are battling for playing time; cornerback, where a talented but inexperienced group are competing for starting jobs and wide receiver, where an experienced corps will fight for a limited number of positions.
Glynn Academy head coach Rocky Hidalgo said there will be four quarters of football played with no special provisions when his team travels to Valdosta to face the Wildcats at 7:30 p.m. Friday in a scrimmage.
Starters and those competing for starting jobs will play the first three quarters and the junior varsity teams will play the final quarter, he said.
The Red Terrors will host Valdosta next year when the preseason scrimmage is held.
Hidalgo said he expects his players to be excited to make contact with an opposing player for the first time this season.
“I think they will be,” he said. “If they’re not, there’s a problem.”
Fans in the Isles will get a first look at Brunswick’s new squad when the Pirates host Beach at 7 p.m. Friday at Glynn County Stadium.
Among the positions to watch is quarterback, where the Pirates have KJ Lee and Anthony Mountain competing to replace Jamarius Stevens behind center.
“I plan on giving them both 15 reps in a series,” said Pirates head coach Sean Pender. “If KJ’s the starter, he’ll play 15 snaps. If that 15th snap happens in the middle of a drive, they’ll finish the drive.”
The game will be played like a normal game, but with no live special teams.
On St. Simons Island, Frederica Academy will host Bethesda Academy in a preseason tuneup set for 7:30 p.m.
Coach Brandon Derrick is interested in seeing if his offense can keep up the tempo on the field.
“I want to see if our offensive tempo is good,” Derrick said. “We’re a fast-paced offense, I just want to see how fast we can keep it up. Defensively, I want to see us fly to the ball and play our responsibilities.”
The job is a little easier for Tony Glazer, new head coach at McIntosh Academy, when his team travels to Liberty County for a scrimmage that begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
“They’re pretty good and we’re just evolving,” Glazer said of his team’s opponent.
The scrimmage will be pretty straight forward, with no special arrangements made by either team to start junior varsity players late in the game.
“It will be like a regular game,” he said.
Film from the scrimmage will help determine who earns starting jobs when the season begins Aug. 17, he said.
“I’m hoping to see us competing,” Glazer said. “Lots of kids are playing their first varsity action.”