Scrimmages deliver early tests

Walter Pinion

Spalding and Pike County were the first teams in the state to scrimmage, and this weekend there are four more matchups before the rest of the state lines up for the offseason’s final exams. The tendency is to pick an opponent that is nearby, but as you will see with some of the matchups, preparing the team for the grueling season is the primary objective.

In a matchup between two Cobb County playoff teams from 2012, 5A Kell will visit 6A Marietta to scrimmage. The two teams will give their new key starters a taste of Friday Night combat. Marietta is replacing LSU-signee Anthony Jennings, who quarterbacked the Blue Devils into the playoffs two times as a starter. Kell will replace Quincy Mauger and Brendan Langley in the secondary, who are both at UGA now.

Class A Mt. Paran Christian will visit Class AA Lovett Friday. Mike Muschamp’s Lions made it to the state quarterfinals last season before falling a touchdown shy to Lamar County, 35-28. Mitch Jordan and the Eagles look to improve on last season’s 3-7 mark, and will get a great measuring stick with Lovett.

Osborne and Pebblebrook will feature two programs that are desperately trying to climb out of their respective region’s basements. Pebblebrook will look to iron out its gameplan before the Falcons face the gauntlet of Region 4-6A (North Cobb, Hillgrove, South Cobb, Marietta, McEachern, Harrison, Kennesaw Mountain).

Osborne comes off a 1-win 2012 campaign and opens up the season in a rematch with Chapel Hill. Last year, the Cardinals got off to a slow start falling 28-0 to the Panthers and will use the scrimmage with Pebblebrook to seek improvements.

Last, but definitely not least, Colquitt County will travel 225 miles north on I-75 to tussle with the Norcross Blue Devils on Saturday. This scrimmage will be critical for each team’s start to the season. Colquitt County opens with Grayson in the Metro PCS Corky Kell Classic and Norcross plays Booker T. Washington out of Florida on ESPN in its opener.

Colquitt County head coach Rush Propst has been waiting to hoist a Georgia state title and will rely on quarterback Daniel Mobley and nine returning defensive starters to get there. Propst has put together arguably the toughest schedule in the country this season for his Packers. Going on a preseason road trip did not deter Colquitt County and the matchup will feature two driven programs.

Norcross has a couple positions to prepare for the season after pulling off the perfect 15-0 season last year. Head Coach Keith Maloof will get an opportunity to watch his quarterback A.J. Bush lead the talented Blue Devils for the first time. Bush started last season for Milton and will get an opportunity to practice managing the game in his new offense.

Running back Josh Boyd will get his first test ride as the feature back in the Norcross offense after transferring from South Gwinnett. Boyd rushed for 760 yards and nine touchdowns last season and will be stepping in for Alabama signee Alvin Kamara.



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