MILLEDGEVILLE — Losing many starters from last year’s squad, Baldwin High’s young football team will suit up for the first time this season Friday night at home against Jefferson County.
Head coach Dexter Copeland understands the team’s first contest could be an eye-opening experience for a lot of his young players.
“For a lot of sophomores, this will be the first varsity game,” he said.
Along with the new players, BHS has adopted a new scheme on defense to put more pressure on high-powered offensive teams this fall.
Defensively, the Braves are young and inexperienced, but Copeland believes that has helped with switching to a new approach this season.
“We have a very young football team. That’s a good thing and bad thing,” he said. “Last year we were a read and react team, this year we’re more of an attack defense.”
On the offensive-side of the ball, Copeland returns many of his key players from last year’s team.
“We’re returning all of our skill guys, including Kentavious Thomas,” he said.
The Braves’ go-to running back, Thomas, will be joined in the backfield by last season’s starting quarterback, Tajhea Chambers, who racked up 2,000 yards through the air in 2012 with 1,000 yards on the ground.
Thomas and Chambers will be protected by a strong offensive line led by Garrison Hogan and Erique Rozier.
Wide receivers Jerrel Simmons and Brandon Goodman will add to the Braves’ offense as well Friday night.
Copeland admits that the Braves will have their hands full against the Warriors of Jefferson County, as BHS will face a big, physical team in its opening game of the season.
“Jefferson is a very big team and they played their first game last week, so they’re one up on us,” he said.
Though, the Braves may struggle some in their first contest, Copeland believes they will be in the ball game for four quarters, and regardless of the outcome he understands his very young BHS team will learn from the experience.
“I wanted to schedule these first three games to get us ready for the region,” Copeland said. “We’re going to find out a lot about our football team.”
BHS will open up their 2013 season at home Friday against the Warriors, with the opening kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m.