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Trojans gearing up for Friday night football

By Ken K. Green After a summer of strength and conditioning drills, various camps and passing competitions, the Lamar County Trojans officially began preparation for the upcoming high school football season last Thursday with the GHSA’s mandatory five day acclimation period. Under the GHSA’s heat policy, players must take part in five practices without pads before donning helmets and shoulder pads this Thursday. The Trojans will work out on the field from 4:30-6:30 through Wednesday. Practice in full gear will be from 4:30-7:30 Thursday and Friday. Team picture day will be after the first day of school Monday with practice to follow. Then the team will begin its routine of practice after school each day. The Trojans look to ‘three-peat’ as Region 4-AA champions and play for the state championship after going 12-1-1 last season and making the semi-finals where they lost a 14-7 heartbreaker to eventual state runner-up Calhoun. To reach its goal, Lamar will have to replace some players at key positions who were lost to graduation, most notably All-State and All-Region inside linebacker Trey Evans who led the team in tackles with 100 stops and fullback Jeremy Fletcher who rushed for 650 yards and 11 touchdowns. Head coach Franklin Stephens said, ‘Right now we have a committee of backs at fullback. All players offer something but no one has moved ahead of the pack. Hopefully, by game one we’ll have someone established at that position. Linebacker is similar to fullback, we have a couple of guys rotating at those positions, however, we’re still looking for three of them to emerge and lock the position down.’ Stephens also refuted a report by a high school football preview publication that sophomore Ginori ‘LJ’ Smith would start at quarterback while incumbent signal caller Lance Austin would move to one of the running back slots. ’I’m not sure who reported that information. We have no plans at the present time to make a change at the quarterback position,’ Stephens said. Stephens and staff will also be looking for a guard and tackle on the offensive line as well as depth at all positions. The Trojans will play its annual intra-squad scrimmage ‘Tide Game’ Aug. 9 at 5 p.m. and host Stone Mountain for a pre-season scrimmage Aug. 16 at 7 p.m. The regular season opener is Aug. 30 at 7:30 p.m. against Spalding in the annual ‘Border War’.

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