Heard County High School hosted Villa Rica, Central and LaGrange for their first team camp of the summer with pads and full-contact scrimmages.
The weather was cool to start the day, with cloudy skies in Franklin, Georgia.
Outside temperatures started in the low to mid 1970s.
However, things got more exciting on the field in several ways, as the Braves, Wildcats, Lions and Grangers faced real competition for the first time this year.
Perhaps the most heated battle of the day was between Heard County and Central, especially when Heard’s first-team defense took on Central’s first-team offense in 11-on-11 snaps.
A few fights between the teams erupted after some big plays from Central’s offense, including two hasty touchdowns and a 20-yard completion for Lions receiver Vicari Swain. Coaches from both teams had to break up the swarm and regroup before returning to work.
Central’s head coach, Darius Smiley, gave his team the message, “Play with your pads, not your mouth,” to clean up some extracurricular activities.
After the camp was over, Heard County head coach Shane Lasseter put the extra fights into context.
“As for the chippy-ness and physical play and all that sort of thing, we preach that, and so do they,” Lasseter said. “For the most part, we want to make sure we can perform with the emotions instead of letting the emotions take over a football game.”
“Football is an emotional game, there is no other way to play it. We just want – when we get into an emotional situation – to be able to perform, and that was my main message to the team.”
The Heard County defense started in 11-on-11 exercises against Villa Rica. The Wildcats were able to abort some off-tackle runs and connected with a couple of passes, including an accurate swing pass and a back-shoulder throw to the right side of the field.
Heard’s defense played well too, however, as they stood squarely against Villa Rica’s hasty attack through the middle several times, even forcing a few fumbles.
“We have a very young football team that we are still trying to figure out where a lot of people are and what positions they will be in,” Lasseter said, “but I was super proud of the way they played today in terms of effort and being physically.”
Outside of full-team scrimmages, all four teams also took turns with one-on-one drills for quarterbacks, receivers and defensive backs. They also participated in inside drills for offensive/defensive lines, running backs and linebackers.
The Braves, as well as the Lions, Wildcats and Grangers will finish this week’s practice today, and they will be off for the second GHSA-dead week of the summer, before returning to prep for the regular season through the month July.