By Sam Crenshaw
It’s the middle of the week and high school football teams are practicing in the morning because there are no classes. It may sound like the days before school starts in August, but it’s Thanksgiving Week, and the teams that remain in the post season hunt are thankful to still be a work.
The season got off to a bumpy start for the St. Pius Golden Lions, but a dramatic victory over longtime arch-rival Marist helped them secure the region championship and the number 1 seed for the playoffs. Head Coach Paul Standard probably is most thankful for that Marist win, as the 1 seed the Golden Lions will face West Laurens this week, while Marist, the 2 seed draws Buford.
“To be practicing on Thanksgiving Week is one of our top goals each season”, says Standard.” We get to spend time together as a team, without classes. On Wednesday we give the team Turkey Day t-shirts, and treat them to The Varsity after practice. On Thanksgiving Day the team will bring their families to attend Mass, and enjoy breakfast before their final walk through.”
The Archer Tigers began the season sitting atop class AAAAAA, then stumbled out of the gate at 0-3 before reeling of 9 straight wins. Now they will face another (9-3) team in Hillgrove. Archer Head Coach Andy Dyer is thankful for another chance to play this week. ”Our football team is very blessed and thankful to still be playing on Thanksgiving Week. We are especially proud for our seniors.”
One of the teams that contributed to Archer’s slow start was the Sandy Creek Patriots. Chip Walker’s team rallied in the second half to tame the Tigers in the season opening Corky Kell Kickoff Classic. Now the (10-1) Patriots must hit the road to face (11-0) Cartersville this Friday night. At Sandy Creek, football on Thanksgiving Week is expected.” We love the tradition of getting to practice the week of Thanksgiving and on Thanksgiving Day,” says Walker. “It’s a great way to start the day by spending time with our football family.”
Thanksgiving week football has not been a tradition at Mays High School, but that might change after this season. Last week the Raiders traveled to Waycross and brought back an upset win over top ranked and unbeaten Ware County. It was the first time an Atlanta Public School football team had beaten a top ranked team since 1995. Mays has reached the quarterfinal round for the first time in school history, and in just the second year on the job for Head Coach Corey Jarvis who had these thoughts on practicing on Thanksgiving Week. ”It means we are one of the few teams doing it and I feel like it is a measuring stick for your program to see where you are”, says Jarvis. “It is a true blessing to be doing what we love this late in the year.” The (10-2) Raiders welcome (10-1) Jones County to Lakewood Stadium this Friday night.
Don’t forget to listen to the High School Football Power Hour, this Saturday morning on SportsRadio 92-9 The Game. Scores, previews, interviews and more from 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.!