The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) announced last week that school athletic programs will be permitted to begin voluntary summer workouts Monday, June 8.
There are several restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as only weight training and conditioning are allowed, groups of no more than 20 (players and coaches combined) may be present for workouts at a time and facilities must be disinfected between groups. With all that in mind, second-year GMC Prep head football coach Lee Coleman said the school is working through the logistics to allow football players in for workouts beginning on that June 8 date.
Clearance has not been given as of yet, but, “I’m preparing as if we are going to start on June 8,” Coleman told The Union-Recorder in a Thursday phone interview.
The GHSA Board of Trustees met last week to discuss starting workouts on June 1, but some board members from larger school systems shared concerns about that being too soon. Their problem was not with the plan presented by GHSA Executive Director Dr. Robin Hines but instead came from wanting to give schools and school systems more time to implement the newly-introduced measures.
Asked what he thought about the guidance given by the governing body for Georgia high school sports, Coleman replied, “I would like my whole team to be together just like everybody else, but if it gives a way to get back in the weight room — even if we have to split up into groups — that’s fine by me. … It’ll be challenging, but I think it’ll be exciting just to get the guys together and see the improvement.”
Coleman’s team should not have to split up into more than two groups as he says his initial roster has 21 players on it. That’s about in line with the number he had in his inaugural year at the helm for the Bulldogs.
“If I have 21 or 22 guys show up on day one, I’m winning. Last year I only had four to six,” he said.
One area where GMC Prep should have a leg up on most of its fellow Class A schools is its athletic training staff can help with screening the athletes before they enter the weight training facility. Coleman said he hopes the junior college trainers will be able to lend a hand since the JC football team will not be on campus this summer.
“Our athletic training staff is one of the best in the state in my opinion,” Coleman said. “Those guys do a wonderful job.”
If everything goes as planned, the Bulldogs will hold workouts Mondays through Thursdays with a team run day on Fridays, per the head coach.
Riverside Military Academy game replaced
The Bulldogs were supposed to play Riverside Military Academy on Davenport Field Friday, Sept. 11. RMA though, announced a couple of weeks ago that it has canceled interscholastic fall sports activities for the upcoming school year.
“Having a safe and a healthy fall season requires substantial planning, writing of contracts, and early equipment purchases all of which would be binding even if the season remains banned by GHSA,” reads a portion of that announcement on Riverside’s school website.
Coach Coleman looked to Cherokee Bluff High School to fill the hole in his team’s schedule. Cherokee Bluff was supposed to play Riverside Sept. 4 and be off Sept. 11, so adding the Bulldogs allows them to fill a lost game and get a bye week one week earlier than planned. Cherokee Bluff is a AAA school getting ready to play its third season of high school football having gone just 3-17 in its first two years. The game between GMC Prep and Cherokee Bluff will be played in Milledgeville on Davenport Field.