Dougherty Teams Counting Down to Kickoff

Official practice for GHSA high school football begins next week. But most teams, that are successful, have been putting in work throughout the summer.

That's no different for the South Georgia schools.

Local teams, Albany, Monroe, Westover and Berrien High, were working in Americus this week at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Camp. Through the seven on seven drills and lineman challenges, a common theme rang out from the head coaches.

"We cannot wait for these six days to come and go. We are so excited about getting in to the season," Albany High Coach Felton Williams said.

"Our guys are excited and we're ready to get in to those helmets and shorts and get in those full pads," Westover Coach Octavia Jones said.

The first day of GHSA practice is July 25, but the Dougherty County schools snagged their first taste of the renovated 4A-Region 1 at the camp.

A newcomer joins the 4A-Region 1 pack this season. The Albany Indians jump from 2A to 4A to compete against the rest of their city rivals.

"The competition in 1-4A is going to be very easy game. We're going two steps up so we're looking forward to that challenge. It's going to be a tough game day in and day out," Coach Williams said.

"Adding Albany to an already tough region is going to make this year real tough. I think there are going to be eight great teams in this region and it's going to be a battle to receive one of those four playoff spots," Monroe Coach Charles Truitt said.

Coach Truitt's Tornadoes represented the lone city squad to participate in the 2011 state playoffs. This season, a core of experienced returning Tornadoes are looking to sweep past that second round exit.

"I think they had the taste in their mouth that they were so close last year. Hopefully, that taste is still in their mouth so we can reach even further heights next year," Truitt said.

As for Westover, the Patriots missed the playoffs on the final week of the regular season losing to Monroe 27-10. Coach Jones intends to use the disappointing end to motivate for 2012.

"I think this year our guys understand a little bit more about how to win, so now we have to apply it to the field. I'm interested to see how these seniors that were juniors last year are going to step up to the plate and finish the job," Coach Jones said.

Every summer, the slate is wiped clean. Expectations and aspirations are one in the same for every Georgia high school. An appearance at the state playoffs is the common goal.

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