MILLEDGEVILLE — Traveling to Sandersville for their season opening contest, John Milledge Academy will take on long-time rival Brentwood School Friday night to kick off the 2013 season.
Returning only seven starters from last year’s squad to Brentwood’s 18, the Trojans will face an experienced War Eagles team Friday night.
“I think we’re going up against a very good team,” J.T. Wall, head coach, said. “It’s the same team that went just as far in the playoffs as we did. They were just on the other side of the bracket.”
Wall believes the performance of this year’s senior class of 14 will be the best indicator of how the team will fare against a strong Brentwood team.
“We felt like we had a good summer, pre-season, good camp,” he said. “I think a lot depends on the seniors.”
While seniors Andrew Hayes, Hunter Harding, Daulton Rogers, Tommy Pittman, Chris Williams, Kendall Morgan, Trae Simmons, Joseph Beasley and Trent Thiel all are expected to lead the team this season, Wall admits others players will have to step up Friday night.
Vince McPherson and Chase Register are two among that group that will be counted on to lead the Trojans on the field tomorrow night.
“They were starters last year, but now we’re looking for them to be more than starters and be leaders and key components of this team,” Wall said.
As is expected with a team of only seven returning starters, the JMA has yet to find its identity in regards to how the team will handle the ball on offense and how the Trojans will manage teams defensively heading into the season-opener.
“Well I think we’ve got a couple different options,” Wall said. “Each year we try to identify a team identity, and we’ve been unable to find that. I think we’re still trying to find out who we are.”
According to Wall, there is not much to go off of going into the matchup with the War Eagles, but he admits JMA must be able to make necessary changes throughout the night.
“You’ve kind of got an idea, but at the same time you’re going in with no idea and no game film from any other team they’ve played this year. You’ve got to be able to make offensive, defensive and special team adjustments on the fly,” Wall said. “We feel pretty good about the work we’ve done, but at the same time, a lot of these guys that are stepping into these starting roles still have a lot to prove.”
As one of the bigger rivals for the Trojans, Friday’s game against Brentwood is likely to be an exciting one where Wall hopes his boys come out on top.
“It’s a good rivalry. We’ve played each other for a long time. We know that the crowd is going to come out and support us,” he said. “We’re just proud of the work these guys have put in, and we just hope they get rewarded for it on Friday night.”
Kickoff between the Trojans and War Eagles is 7:30 p.m. Friday at Brentwood.