Colonels prepping for rare spring scrimmage

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This year’s spring football schedule for Cass is unlike any other during the Bobby Hughes era.

After years of closing spring with an intrasquad game, the Colonels will close with a spring scrimmage against Creekview at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Doug Cochran Stadium.

“I thought it would be a good opportunity to make a little bit of revenue going into the summer with camps, gives them a chance to play somebody else and gives the kids a chance to play one more time on the grass before it will be turned into turf,” Hughes said of the decision.

With the game on the horizon, Hughes said earlier this week that this spring has taken on a new feel.

“It’s been a good six days,” Hughes said. “It’s a different six days, because we’ve never tried to get ready to play a scrimmage against another team. It’s always been an intrasquad game, so it’s a little unique in itself. It also has a little bit of excitement for the kids. …

“We’re young in a couple of areas, but we’re fairly sound in a couple of areas. It’s the first time being thrown in the fire, so it’s just about how quickly do those young ones respond. I feel pretty good.”

The matchup with Creekview had been on the schedule for a few months, but a coaching change by the Grizzlies threw it into a bit of uncertainty. However, new head coach Trevor Williams kept the program’s commitment to facing the Colonels.

“I knew the coach that was there before, and then the new guy honored it,” Hughes said.

Williams takes over a team coming off arguably the program’s best season ever. In Adam Carter’s only season with the Cherokee County school before leaving for Grayson, Creekside finished the regular season at 10-0 with the program’s first region title.

After leading the Grizzlies to the state quarterfinals, where they ran into eventual champion Lee County, Carter was named the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Class 6A coach of the year.

Creekview will be entering a year of transition, and the Grizzlies will get a first glimpse at the future in Bartow County on Friday night. To be fair, Cass will be going through some changes of its own with several seniors on both sides of the ball from last year’s team getting set to graduate later this month.

At the game’s most important position, the Colonels will be replacing starting quarterback Rett Moore. Although the presumed starter, rising senior Logan Nelson, will bring a decent number of game reps to the table.

At some other spots, Cass will be pretty raw. In others, the Colonels themselves will be fairly seasoned — just not in their new roles. That will make for an intriguing dynamic on Friday.

“The personnel is a little bit different, because a couple of people, their roles are going to change a little bit,” Hughes said. “Our timing was a lot better [Monday], offensively. I feel a lot better, offensively.

“Defensively, they’ll adjust to the speed of it. When they start running around a little bit, it will take a little while for them to get that end of it slowed down a little bit.”

What’s made the spring tractional period easier for Hughes has been the presence of rising senior leaders. He mentioned Nelson, Kameron Hill, J.P. Perry and Reed Davis by name as some of the players guiding the up-and-comers.

“This particular bunch really enjoys being around each other,” Hughes said. “It’s fun to watch them. It was a different tone all winter in the weight room. … You’ve got guys who this is not their first rodeo. Their role was a little bit different, but they still got quality, meaningful minutes. They’re not lost.”

Come Friday night, the more veteran players will see the majority of the snaps across the first three quarters before giving way to those primarily making up the crop of rising sophomores and freshmen.

“We’ll play those older guys the first half and part of the third quarter,” Hughes said, “and then we’ll play those young guys after that.”

The scrimmage game should give those inexperienced players a small dose of what to expect on a Friday night in the fall. Even still, there’s more to spring practices than getting ready for a pretty meaningless exhibition.

This has been the first time Hughes has been asked to find that delicate balance of making sure his players can at least compete in a spring scrimmage, while also keeping partial focus on the areas that serve as the building blocks for the foundation of any successful program.

“Just trying to balance enough of the fundamental blocking and tackling with the scheme,” Hughes said, “because you’re going to see a different scheme [in the spring scrimmage] than you see in practice every day.”