Schley County football team begins 2019 season with first spring practice

Published 8:03 pm Monday, May 6, 2019

ELLAVILLE – For many high school football teams around the country, the upcoming fall season begins in the spring. The same can be said for Schley County (SC) head football coach Darren Alford and his Wildcats. SC began spring practice on Monday, May 6. It is the first step in the journey to what the Wildcats hope will be a region championship and, perhaps, a state championship this coming fall.

“It feels really good. I’m glad to be out here,” Alford said. “We’ve been working really hard in the weight room. Our boys have been excited about this all week long. They’ve been excited about this for a long time.” In 2018, the Wildcats finished with a record of 9-3 and reached the second round of the GHSA Class A-Public State Playoffs before losing to their region nemesis: the Eagles of Marion County (MC).

SC head coach Darren Alford addresses the team after the first day of spring practice.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

MC defeated the Wildcats three times in 2018, but of those three meetings, the Wildcats played their best game against the Eagles in their second-round state playoff game, losing by the score of 34-27. The Wildcats came very close to winning a region championship, which is something SC still has yet to do in football. “We finished short of our goal last year and we feel like we could have gone farther,” Alford said. “Marion was better than us on Friday nights. Hats off to those guys, but we felt like we were better than that. We felt like we could have gone a little bit farther. We really worked hard. We won the state championship this year in the weight room. The kids have been working hard and we are excited about the opportunity to get on the field and work hard again.”

Offensive lineman Wade Cox is blocking defensive limenam Brandon Collins (55) as Coach Alford is running an offensive play.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Alford and his staff worked on just about all of the aspects of football, such as the fundamentals of blocking and tackling. They put the players through football drills, such as the Oklahoma Drill. The offensive lineman worked on running and pass blocking. The defensive backs worked on trying to shut down the wide receivers.

DeMarcus Clark (35) and Malachi Banks (32) running step for step as they fight for the on-coming football during a passing drill.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Quarterback Jarrett Long, who served as a backup to Garrett Peavy a year ago, will be a junior in the fall. Long is also a linebacker on the team. Peavy was not at the opening day of spring practice due to the fact that the SC baseball team is still in the state playoffs. “It feels great to be back out here. I’m just ready to hit,” Long said. “I’ve been waiting all weekend for this. We’ve been putting in a lot of work during the offseason. Everybody is trying to get better. I’m just ready for it.”

Spring practice, as allowed by GHSA rules, will go on for the next two weeks.