MILLEDGEVILLE — Bouncing back after a tough loss on the road last week, Georgia Military Prep School football looks to regroup and defend its home turf Friday night against First Presbyterian Day School in the school’s homecoming matchup.
Head coach Steven Simpson plans to use the energy from the homecoming festivities as motivation for his players against the Vikings.
“We try to use homecoming as a motivation,” Simpson said. “We’re able to use it, and I try to tell the kids that they’re doing it for us, for the football team. We’ve got to go out and try to win a football game.”
While GMC Prep has festivities all week surrounding the homecoming event, Simpson has gone as far as to encourage his players to be a part during the school day to show the team’s appreciation for what the rest of the Bulldog community does for them each week.
“We haven’t tried to limit them; I’ve actually encouraged them to participate. I really tried to encourage them to participate,” he said. “Once the school day is over with, we ask for them to put all that behind them.”
GMC Prep’s afternoons have indeed been business as usual, as the Bulldogs prepare to handle a tough FPD squad that touts a similar overall record of 1-3 this season.
“They’re solid on both sides of the football. They’re well coached and very disciplined,” Simpson said. “They’re very simple, not very flashy, but they’re good at what they do. They’re talented.”
FPD will utilize an option-style offense, a formation the Bulldogs have little experience in defending against this season.
“You’ve got to tackle your responsibility whether they have the ball or not,” Simpson said. “Our job is to take away the option as fast as we can.”
Simpson admits preparing for the option is a daunting task for high school players, especially since the Bulldogs rarely see a team use it in game situations.
“It’s difficult to plan on and practice it, because it’s not something we see week-in and week-out. Our kids are really good about watching film,” he said. “Our kids are good about adapting to things. With the defensive scheme we use, we usually take away the role of them having to figure out who their responsibility is each play.”
The Bulldogs’ offense will also be challenged on Friday night though Simpson and his staff have tweaked their approach to give the team its best opportunity against the Vikings.
“Offensively, we’ve continued to work on what we do,” Simpson said. “With our running game, we’ve sat down over the weekend and tried to eliminate some plays that we feel like didn’t help us.”
Though GMC Prep sits at 1-1 in the region, Simpson believes his team is confident and ready to take on FPD this week.
“Our kids understand that every week is a new challenge and they still have goals they want to reach,” he said. “Friday night, we’re expecting a big crowd and we’re excited about competing with FPD.”
The kick off between the Bulldogs and Vikings is set for 7:30 p.m. at Davenport Field.