By CHRIS GOLTERMANN
It’s not quite halftime yet when it comes to summer football workouts. That comes next week when the Georgia High School Association turns out the lights and locks the doors on any activity regardless of sport in a period known as the “dead week.”
East Coweta will get there earlier than some, opting to break on Wednesday for a 10-day layoff. But the Indians have been mighty busy while earning some rest as well.
Before breaking, players got a chance to finish first in the inaugural FCA Combine held at Whitewater, one that also featured Newnan and Northgate.
East Coweta also closed out its first 7-on-7 passing session of the summer last Wednesday at McIntosh while getting in some extra work in anticipation of a 2018 season opener early Saturday, Aug. 18, against Kell, that will be held at Mercedes Benz Stadium as part of the Corky Kell Classic.
“There’s a lot of carry over and excitement. Kids have worked extremely hard and I know they’re excited about next fall. It’s still a ways off,” Indians head coach John Small said. “The challenge to them is to pick up right where they left off.”
In addition to daily weight training, East Coweta’s workouts included the trip to McIntosh. Along with the Chiefs, the Indians have been able to line up against Ola and LaGrange.
When workouts resume, East Coweta will head to Starr’s Mill on July 11 with a group of teams expected to include Northgate, which has thrown on consecutive Wednesdays this month with the Panthers and Sandy Creek.
The goal remains centered on improving with a short window now under 50 days until the season opener. Along with Kell, the Indians’ non-region schedule has been front loaded with opponents coming off playoff seasons last fall.
“You want to make sure the kids are lining up right and running the right routes,” Small said. “You’re trying to get your timing down between your quarterback and your receivers.”
It’s especially important in a year of transition at both positions. East Coweta graduated starter Christian Reid behind center after throwing for 1,373 yards and 12 touchdowns in Small’s first year on the sidelines with the Indians.
Reid, who took over starting duties midway through his sophomore year and played the next 26 games at the position for the Indians, signed with Charleston Southern. Top receivers Juan Calipolitti (33 rec., 321 yds) and Jamal Kennedy (26 rec., 292 yds) also graduated after hauling in three touchdowns last fall.
During the spring, rising senior Nate Cronic joined Devin Gelband and Gabe Gray as potential suitors to the opening at quarterback with the group performing well in this year’s E-Night scrimmage game against Sandy Creek. Cronic and Gelband each led scoring drives in the first half.
Both sides of the ball, however, look to benefit from the pair of 7-on-7 workouts during the offseason.
“We try to keep a clock on our quarterbacks. The ball has to be out within four seconds. Start building a clock in his head, getting ready for the fall,” Small said. “Defensively, it gives you an opportunity to work on your drop lanes and drop holes, your different coverages. And it just gives you a chance to compete against somebody else.”
Meanwhile, the incoming senior class has equally been working on both the present and the near future.
Just prior to the end of the school year, East Coweta running back Gerald Green, coming off a junior season where he rushed for 1,134 yards and 16 touchdowns in 10 games, made a verbal commitment to Georgia Southern.
Others have attended college camps or made visits to programs during the summer.
“Things are going good,” Small said. “The kids are having a great summer.”