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Football is nearly upon us

By Walter Geiger It may be true that, in Spring, a man’s fancy turns toward thoughts of love as the poet wrote but, in mid-August in the south, men and boys and lots of women and girls zero in on football. And, like a beckoning oasis in the desert that is summer sports, football is upon us. Both high schools in our coverage area have scrimmages this week. The Lamar County Trojans host the Spalding Jaguars Thursday night at 7 p.m. while the Pike Pirates welcome the Starrs Mill Panthers to Zebulon on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. It will be the first chance local fans have had to see the two teams in action under game conditions as they tune up for their respective season openers. The Trojans open regular season play August 22 when they host the Howard Huskies of Macon. The Pirates’ season opener is the annual Battle of Potato Creek when the Pike and Lamar tangle at Trojan Field in Barnesville Aug. 29 at 7:30 p.m. It will be a packed house as always and we will know an awful lot more about both teams when the smoke clears after that showdown. While football plays out on center stage, equally hard working athletes in the softball, cross country and volleyball programs at each school will also be competing. Try to give them a full measure of support as well. College football fans are also chomping at the bit for the start of the season. This is the time of year when each team has a clean slate and is undefeated. Hopes run high. I am optimistic about the chances of my team, the Georgia Bulldogs. There is a stable full of bluechip running backs in Athens and lots of experience and speed at the other skill positions. I think fifth year senior quarterback Hutson Mason will be solid. There are a lot of question marks behind him on the depth chart, however, and, if he goes down, it could get ugly. The Dogs have the backs and line to run on anybody and that is a huge plus even in this era of hurry up offenses.They should score some points. The question is will new coordinator Jeremy Pruitt be the savior he has been touted as on the defensive side of the ball. Over the past few years, UGA has often had to score more than 40 points to win a game. If Pruitt can knock 10 points off that benchmark, his first year will have been a success. Given my allegiance to my alma mater, it may surprise some to hear this but I am also excited about Georgia Tech football. That has to do with the fact that three young men I have observed since middle school are on The Flats and competing for playing time as true freshmen. Twins Lance and Lawrence Austin and Qua Searcy have been game breakers as long as they have played the sport. Searcy is in the mix at wide receiver while the twins are working in the defensive backfield. All three are getting touches returning kicks and I will be surprised if the LC3 don’t play early and often for the Jackets. Several Tech fans have promised me a hat which I will wear while I watch the progress of the Austins and Searcy but I have not received it yet. It will be part of my attire until the Dogs kick off. I also won’t wear it in Athens where Laura and I will have the opportunity to tailgate with our daughter, May Melton, who is now a freshman at UGA. For that reason alone, this will be a special football season. No matter the records, it always is. Walter Geiger is editor and publisher of The Herald Gazette.

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