2005-08-10 / Sports

Spartans prepare for season with camp, scrimmages

By Jami Hargrove
True Citizen Correspondent

By Jami Hargrove
True Citizen Correspondent

Staff photo by Ariana Youmans Players practice tackling during football camp last weekStaff photo by Ariana Youmans Players practice tackling during football camp last week

With their first week of practice and a week of football camp and scrimmages behind them, the Edmund Burke Academy Spartans took the field at John Hancock Academy in Sparta yesterday (Tuesday, Aug. 9) for the annual Kickoff Classic Scrimmage, after press time.

They will begin their season Saturday, Aug. 20 with a game against Fellowship Christian Academy in Atlanta. Their first home game will be Friday, Sept. 2 against Tattnall Square Academy and their first region game will be Friday, Oct. 7 against Gatewood High School in Eatonton.

EBA began practicing on Monday, July 25 and head coach, Beau Johnson said that despite the heat and the recent coaching change, the Spartans had a remarkably good first week of practice.

The team scrimmaged Piedmont Academy Thursday, July 28, and Johnson believes that they played well both defensively and offensively. Assistant coaches, Zack Rackett and Todd Layton both agreed that although they have a young backfield, the Spartans are big and are showing 100 percent effort at practice. Layton believes that running the ball will give them the best chance to win.

The following week, Aug. 1-4, the Spartans endured an arduous four days of camp at EBA.

"I am extremely proud overall of the effort and discipline that the kids showed this week at camp," Johnson said.

On Tuesday, Aug. 2, EBA competed against David Emanuel Academy (DEA) in a scrimmage.

"DEA uses a spread offense, sort of like Valdosta State," commented Layton.

Johnson said they have yet to face a team that runs a normal offense and the "spread-throw-it-every-down-trickery-type-offense" was David Emanuel’s best chance to win.

"The first play of the game they tricked us and advanced about seventy yards, but throughout the rest of the scrimmage we really did a good job defensively and got after the ball," coach Johnson said.

Rackett stated that the Spartans will face a team similar to DEA in their first game of the season, and he is glad that they were given the chance to practice against them.

Wednesday, Edmund Burke played another scrimmage game against Pinewood Christian Academy, a larger team that has a lot of power.

"Pinewood did an excellent job against us. We’re a little beat up with a few injuries, but we’re not making any excuses. We’ve just got to get better," Johnson said. "We’re young and we will continue to practice hard, doing the best we can and just hope good things happen for us."

The Spartans spent their final day of camp, Thursday, Aug. 4, in Sparta working with John Hancock’s coach on the option, an offensive play, and practicing and scrimmaging against their team.

Johnson said the main thing the team needs to work on is conditioning and improving defensively.

"Also the younger guys need to step up and mature a little bit," Johnson added.

As far as their best assets, Johnson believes that the Spartans have an excellent work ethic and attitude and as long as they have that, he expects they can have a great season and win games.

Edmund Burke will kick off their season with 27 players, six of them seniors, and with three returning starters on each side of the ball.

In spite of a tough early season schedule and losing 10 seniors, many of them starters, the coaches think that if they can survive the first few games without any major injuries, the Spartans will be able to compete in the region and have a chance to win a playoff game.

"I am truly proud of our physicality and the way the kids have worked. We’re just looking forward to having a tough, good year and I hope we will be successful," Johnson said.

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