Friday will mark a first for two high school football programs when they meet in Milledgeville.
GMC Prep (0-1) and Central High School of Talbotton (0-1) have never faced off on the gridiron, but that will change this week on historic Davenport Field.
Second-year GMC head coach Lee Coleman said he’ll be glad to have his team compete on its home field after traveling up to Creekside Christian Academy in McDonough for last week’s opener. The Bulldogs turned the ball over too many times against an improved Creekside squad, which helped the host team to a 51-0 victory. Coleman believes getting to play his two preseason scrimmages would have helped his young team, which struggled up front offensively. The GHSA though did not allow its member schools to scrimmage this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We needed those scrimmage games just to have more practice,” Coleman said. “We have a lot of new guys in new roles, so there were some growing pains. One good thing is we know we can get better off of that game.
At the end of the day though, the 2020 opener can really be treated like a scrimmage since Creekside was a non-region opponent, and region records are what determine postseason berths.
“Our goal is to make the playoffs, and our first opponent was better than a lot of teams in our region,” added Coleman.
GMC Prep on Friday took a loss, not only on the scoreboard but also on its roster. Talented sophomore WR/DB Caleb Bush left the game on the second possession when his ankle got rolled up on after he helped make a tackle on defense. Coleman shared that X-rays revealed a fractured ankle, likely ending Bush’s season early for a second straight year after he broke his collarbone in 2019.
The Bulldogs will try to bounce back from both losses Friday as Central-Talbotton is coming to town. The Hawks’ home lies west of Macon, and they too will be searching for their first win and points of the season Friday after losing their opener against Mount Zion, 40-0. Central traditionally has not had a strong football program as the school has not posted a winning record since 1994 when the Hawks made it all the way to the state semifinals. A few winless seasons are sprinkled in that timespan, including one in 2018. The Hawks were just 2-8 last year, but both wins came against Crawford County.
“They’re athletic, and they’ve got a quarterback who is a real good athlete,” said Coleman. “He’ll scramble and he’ll do some things, but if we play hard and contain him we’ll be all right. I think it will be a real good challenge for us just to see if we can put that first game behind us.”
Offensively for the ‘Dogs, the line is going to have to show significant improvement over last week to help out the team’s young quarterback who is now without arguably his biggest playmaker in Bush.
A few protocols have been put into place for the GMC Prep home opener on Davenport Field in light of the ongoing pandemic. GMC football players, cheerleaders and band members have all been given four wristbands to give out to family members so they can attend. The visiting players have been allotted two wristbands each. Only those with wristbands will be allowed to purchase tickets at the gate Friday night as the game will be closed to other students and the community at large. The concession stand will not open, and masks are strongly recommended.
Friday’s kickoff between GMC Prep and Central is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.