The Indians have already seen improved results on the field with a 33-3 victory over Sandy Creek in the spring, and a 41-13 win over Griffin in a recent preseason scrimmage. Expect to see a steady dose of Gerald Green. The senior running back is committed to Georgia Southern.
Kell's 5-6 mark from 2017 included a first-round playoff lost to Flowery Branch. Sloan arrived in May of last year and sums it up this way. “Its's about building relationships,” says Sloan. “You learn how to coach every kid. They know what I expect and I know what they struggle with and what they're good at." The Longhorns graduated seven starters from last season’s offense, but quarterback Evan Conley returns. A senior, Conley is committed to Appalachian State. Eight starters return for the Kell defense, led by senior safety Nick Ross, who is also an Appalachian State commit.
So, let’s ring that alarm clock bell and get these teams going. Both coaches have their gameday plans. Kell will spend Friday night at a local hotel. “We will get them up early,” says Sloan. “Get up around 5:15 on Saturday morning so they can get a good meal in. We will go with some eggs and bacon, not too close to gametime."
East Coweta will have a longer drive from Sharpsburg. “Our buses will pull out about 6:15.” says Small. “We may just have a sleep over here at the school to make sure everybody gets here on time. They will be so excited, it won't be difficult."
OK, coaches have made their check list and everybody is awake, had their pregame meal and on the bus. Now comes the biggest hurdle, the building, Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Remember, most of these guys have never been to a stadium with a roof that opens and closes. Now they will get see what it's like to actually play in one. They will also have to get used to that halo board that will have the scoreboard and clock in a circle above their heads. The team that wins this game could be the one that gets past the “Wow Factor” first.
"I don't think you ever sleep well at night before something like this,” admits Sloan. “I think we will try and get them there early so they can work out and see that it's just a football field, it's 120 yards long. We will try and harp on that."
"The environment may change but the expectations are still the same,” says Small. “I may walk in there and pass out, but I'm not playing. That ‘wow factor’ will be awesome for everybody involved. Once you get in there and get a look at it (halo Board), remind them that it's still going to be there when the game is over. Let’s make sure that the right thing is on it at the end.
Don't forget, Football Fridays In Georgia returns with live broadcasts of Georgia high school football every Friday night. It all starts with Carrollton at Rome on Sept. 14 on the great GPB!