Early August, when football season is within earshot but has yet to arrive, is when teams start to get a bit antsy. Cartersville football won’t have to wait much longer to take the field, as its season begins with a home scrimmage against Westminster Friday.
“I’m ready,” head coach Joey King said. “Right now, you kind of feel like as a coach and a teacher starting the school year, you still kind of feel like you’re pulled in a million different directions, but once you get in the routine of those game weeks, that’s what you look forward to. Everything will settle in and you can get back to work.”
Westminster wasn’t supposed to travel to Cartersville — the game was originally scheduled to be played in Atlanta on its campus.
But Mother Nature had other plans.
A creek that runs near the Westminster stadium currently occupies the space where a football field is supposed to be.
With more rain in the area, Westminster head coach Gerry Romberg asked King if Cartersville could host at Weinman Stadium. King obliged.
“I think it’s free, we’re not going to charge admission, so that’s something worth noting,” King said. “Everyone can come out and enjoy a Friday night game on us.”
Friday will be the first showcase for this Cartersville team, with expectations of a return to the state title game omnipresent.
The game provides an opportunity to face off against a team in Westminster throws a lot at its opponents and won the 2015 Class 3A state championship.
“They play a very smart and physical brand of football as well, so when you play a Westminster team, you’re going to see about every defensive front that you’ll see throughout the rest of the season, as well as a bunch of different offensive sets that you’ll see,” King said. “So it’s kind of just to see how our kids respond to all of that stuff against a good, smart football team.”
Westminster has three players who were named 3A Preseason All-State by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Offensive lineman Pete Rooney is committed to the University of Connecticut; Truman Jones is a linebacker with offers from Maryland and a couple of Ivy League schools; and Alex Gracey will start at punter.
King intimated that the Purple Hurricanes will not dress out any freshmen for the scrimmage, and may only dress three or four freshmen for road games over the course of the season.
He hasn’t set a timetable for how long his starters will play Friday, basing the decision largely around “who needs more live game reps.”
Those starters will have a chance to square off against a Westminster team that has enjoyed recent success.
“They’re talented enough, but they’re smart enough too, and that’s the thing,” King said. “When you get a group that’s got some talent, if they’ve got some sense as well, that makes them dangerous. So it’ll be a fun deal for our guys, making sue we know where to line up and where to be and who to block, so that’s kind of what you look for in this deal.”