MILLEDGEVILLE — Coming off a big performance in their scrimmage game, the Georgia Military Prep School Bulldogs approach its first home football contest of the season Friday night against Harlem with confidence and anticipation.
First-year head coach Steven Simpson expects to see a Harlem squad that resembles a lot of what the Bulldogs see everyday in practice.
“What we’re expecting from them offensively, is they’re pretty much just like we are,” Simpson said. “We expect to see stuff very similar to what we do offensively.”
With Harlem’s big, physical running back and athletic skill players, GMC Prep hopes to use some various formations from the Bulldogs’ 3-5-defense to stop their opponent on Friday night.
“We believe our defense is capable of stepping up and stopping them,” Simpson said. “Defensively, we think we can do some things to expose some of their weaknesses.”
GMC Prep will rely on Parker Williams, Devin Hill and Devonta Walker to stop the run, similar to how the trio performed in the team’s scrimmage against Oglethorpe County last week.
“Our game plan is pretty much is going to stay consistent,” Simpson said. “We’re going to add some wrinkles that we didn’t do in the scrimmage.”
Offensively the Bulldogs will be led by quarterback Rekarche Griffin, as well as Colby Lawrence in the backfield; though the front line made up of Logan Jones, Coleman Jones, Hill, Williams and Walker will be the key element to the team’s success Friday night.
Simpson believes a long, hard-fought battle against Harlem should not be an issue, as the Bulldogs are well conditioned heading into their first matchup.
“We’re in better shape than we thought we were in,” he said. “We’re focusing on conditioning this week to make sure our guys can play four quarters.”
If there is any weakness in GMC Prep’s preparation for the first game of the season, Simpson fears it may be the squad’s special teams.
“We didn’t do special teams in the scrimmage,” he said. “We’ve been working with the kids in practice since the first day. We’re unsure of how we’re going to do in a live game situation.”
After struggling last season, the Bulldogs see Friday night’s game as an opportunity to prove themselves against a Georgia High School Association Class-AA school.
“I think that, you know, our kids see Harlem as an opportunity, since they’re a bigger school. I think our kids want to put on a show and come out and set a tone in the first game,” Simpson said. “They also see an opportunity to earn some extra points in the power rankings.”
GMC Prep will face Harlem at Davenport Field Friday with the opening kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m.