Although early in the season, the GMC Prep Bulldogs’ (1-1) first open week came at a good time.
After pitching a two-quarter shutout in the season opener, first-year head coach Lee Coleman’s team suffered a disappointing loss at Oglethorpe County in week two. The penalty bug bit the Bulldogs in a big way as they dropped the road match 14-7.
“Looking back at the film, it all goes back to teaching the basics,” Coleman said. “Seeing some of the penalties that we had, they were caused by taking the wrong step or going the wrong way, which put pressure on another guy. We were out of position. Hopefully we’ve got that cleaned up moving forward.”
The GMC Prep head coach is taking the tough love approach with his squad’s most experienced players. Seniors were the culprits when many of those flags were thrown against Oglethorpe, forcing Coleman to throw down the gauntlet.
“I told those guys, ‘If you’re not going to be leaders then we don’t need you.’ I can’t be too mad at the guys because they’ve never had any leadership amongst themselves, so I’ve just got to try and coach it into them to see if a change will happen,” he said.
Coleman said the response has been positive thus far, but more growth is needed.
Cleaning up those penalties was the main objective for the Bulldogs when they took to the practice field last week. Some programs use the open week as an opportunity to prep extra for the next opponent, but GMC Prep instead spent time focusing internally to hopefully better prepare themselves for the rest of this season.
The Academy for Classical Education (ACE) Gryphons stand as the next challenge for Coleman’s Bulldogs. Both ACE’s football program and the school itself are very young. The new Macon charter school held its first academic year back in 2014. The Gryphons took the field for varsity football competition for the first time last year and finished their non-region slate at 4-6. The team is 0-3 thus far this season with the most recent result having come as a 46-14 loss at Lamar County last Friday. GMC Prep manhandled the Gryphons 63-0 last season in Macon and hopes for a similar result this time around.
Like with his program’s bye week strategy, Coleman says getting back into the win column will be more about focusing inward and not so much on the opponent.
“They’re another decently athletic team that does a good job of spreading teams out to try and get themselves open space,” Coleman said. “The biggest thing for us is being able to clean up ourselves offensively. We need to be focused and control what we can control. I think the Oglethorpe game was actually a wake-up call to the guys. Hopefully we can really hone in on ourselves and really improve.”
Friday’s kickoff between GMC Prep and ACE is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Davenport Field.