A new era for Georgia Military College Prep School football begins tonight.
Head football coach Lee Coleman took over the program back at the start of summer, but tonight marks the first regular season game under his watch.
The Bulldogs are hoping to build on what they’ve done in recent scrimmages and open 2019 with a win when the Glascock County Panthers come to town.
Coleman’s team finished on the losing end of both their scrimmages against GISA school Gatewood and Region 7-A foe Mount De Sales over the last two weeks, but those tune-ups served their purpose of allowing the new head coach to get a live look at his team.
“With a new team I felt like the scrimmages were good,” said Coleman. “Week one we couldn’t get lined up the right way defensively and we struggled to move the ball. In week two we got lined up right, we just didn’t finish the plays, and we still struggled offensively. But to compete against two really good teams — a GISA state champion and then Mount De Sales who obviously has FBS-caliber guys on the squad — I thought it was good for my team to see that type of environment.”
That first scrimmage at Gatewood produced a devastating injury for GMC Prep. Senior lineman Jordan Thomas went down early during play and has been pronounced out for the entire year, marking a second consecutive year that’s happened to a Bulldog player entering his final season. Two GMC players were also thrown out for fighting and forced to sit out the MDS scrimmage too, but Coleman says he’ll have them both back for tonight’s opener.
The Panthers of Glascock County are once again playing a non-region schedule in 2019, meaning win or lose it will not count toward the Bulldogs’ region record or the GHSA power ratings. To prepare, Coleman watched film of last year’s 35-7 romp over the Gibson school. The two teams also competed against one another at a summer padded camp held at Treutlen County, giving them a live reps against one another. Having spent the last five years coaching at the JUCO level, Coleman is also utilizing assistant coach Tommy Howell as a resource when it comes to scouting opponents. Howell is the only holdover from last year’s staff, and has been in coaching long enough to know at least a little about a lot of teams around the state.
Glascock has put up little resistance against GMC in recent years, having lost the last three meetings by a combined score of 126-21. Coach Coleman is trying to impress upon his players the fact that the Panthers could be looking at this program transition period as their time for revenge.
“I think Glascock is coming in with a chip on their shoulder because we do have a new staff, a new offense, and we don’t have a lot of bodies so this is a game I’m sure they feel they can win,” Coleman said. “My guys need to be mentally prepared and not thinking back to last year. We have to go out there and compete because they’re not going to roll over. We have to rise to the challenge.
“I told my offense we’ve got to start strong and move the ball so we can keep our defense off the field. I told the defensive guys now that we’re in position we’ve just got to make the plays and get off the field. I’m making sure my guys know that it’s OK to be great, make a play, and be known. That is my challenge to my guys. You’re there, now just go make the play. If we can get off the field and move the football I think we’ll have a chance.”
Tonight’s kickoff between GMC Prep and Glascock is set for 7:30 p.m. at Davenport Field.