Jones County High School’s football schedule will not include preseason scrimmages against West Laurens and Houston County following last week’s implementation of guidance issued by the Georgia High School Association.
Preseason scrimmages for all teams have been eliminated, but the remainder of the regular-season schedules remain intact for now. That means that the Greyhounds will still open the season on Sept. 4 against Northeast-Macon.
“In a strange way, it’s actually good for us because it gives us a few more weeks to get everything ready with the field, the stadium and things like that,” said Jones County High School athletic director Barry Veal.
The move, following a meeting of the GHSA with its Sports Medicine Advisory Council, allows teams to continue practicing in a controlled environment.
“Obviously, you'd love to have that scrimmage before a game that counts. But the deal is that everyone has to do what you are doing. It’s an even playing field,” Jones County head football coach Mike Chastain said. “I think about college all the time. They don’t get any scrimmages. They don’t go against other teams. (On our schedule, we) play three non-region games and then go play your region schedule. You get some games to kind of get ready for the region. It’s good to get to play the game we love; we’re super excited about it.”
The GHSA directive extends beyond football. The first date for competition cheerleading events has now been pushed back to Nov. 21 with state finals now slated for Feb. 26-27, 2021. Previously, the first JCHS meet of the year was scheduled for Sept. 26. One-Act Play events have also been postponed to the spring semester.
“I hate it for competition cheerleading, but that’s how it used to be; it started in November and ended in January,” Veal said. “(One-Act being delayed) is something we’ll be fine with.”
Softball, volleyball and cross country will continue to compete as scheduled while, on the gridiron, the move toward the season continues.
“The only thing I don't want to happen is to keep putting it off and putting it off and practicing and practicing, and they come in and pull the plug on it, and the kids have practiced for nothing,” Veal said.
In the midst of the potential uncertainty, the Greyhounds are continuing preparation for the season. The week began with the roster being split in two with one group practicing in the morning and another in the afternoon.
“I thought we had a good week of practice. Right now, we’re just proud of where everybody is with just picking up everything with scheme and everything,” Chastain said. “This time last year, it was tough because everyone was coming in new and installing everything. This year, having everyone here for a year, it’s made everything a lot better.”