New coach anxious to see team in live action at preseason scrimmage
New Jones County football coach Mike Chastain says he is pleased with the progress his players have made through summer workouts and preseason practice so far, but he is ready to see them go full speed against someone else.
He gets that chance on Friday when the Greyhounds visit Upson-Lee in Thomaston for a preseason scrimmage game. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
“Practice has been great. Our first two days in full pads (last week) were great. It is good to get into some real football.”
Summer work in shorts and helmets is good for conditioning and learning plays and formations, and 7-on-7 camps, shoulder pad camps and practicing against other teams with limited contact all helps prepare for the season.
But none of that replaces full speed, full contact football.
“The no pads practice is good, but I like the real stuff, blocking and tackling to the ground,” Chastain said. “That’s where you find out what you have.
“So far, our offense has been good, our defense has been good, we’ve had a lot of competition. I like where we’re at. But I can’t wait to see us in our scrimmage game.”
Chastain said the preseason game will be live all the way.
“Kickoffs, quarterbacks, everything and everyone will be full speed,” he said.
Chastain was 29-12 in three years as head coach at Warner Robins, taking the Demons to the Class 5A championship game the last two seasons.
He was hired in April to replace Justin Rogers, who left to coach Colquitt County after going 45-15 in five years at Jones County.
The Greyhounds were 8-3 last season, finishing third in Region 4-5A and losing to Bainbridge 40-13 in the opening round of the state playoffs.
Upson-Lee, which is in Region 2-4A, was 7-4 last year and lost in the first round of state 34-28 to Thomson.
The Greyhounds rallied to down the Knights 34-15 in last year’s preseason game in Gray. Jones County’s first team trailed 15-13 when it left the field midway through the third quarter, but the backups scored three touchdowns against Upson-Lee’s subs to secure the victory.
Most years recently, the Greyhounds have opened the regular season the week after their preseason scrimmage. But this year Jones County has two weeks of practice after Friday’s game before opening the regular season at home against Howard on Aug. 23.
“I like having that extra week to work on things and correct mistakes from the scrimmage,” Chastain said.