It doesn’t count in the record books, but Habersham Central showed it may be just about ready to kick off the 2017 season after a blowout 56-7 win over Banks County Friday night on the home field.
The Raiders were forced to move on after a solid 5-5 season in 2016, graduating many key playmakers including RB Michael Babers, QB Cole Wilbanks and WR/S Jake Jones among many others. However, newcomer AJ Curry (Stephens County transfer) showed what he’s capable of, along with senior WR Trey Wetherton, who caught a first-half TD pass about 15 yards out to make it 28-0.
The defense held the Leopards scoreless throughout the first half, going into the break 35-0.
While scrimmages reveal some strengths and weaknesses, often times there may be a running clock late in the game (such as the fourth quarter Friday night), and typically there are no live kick plays. On kickoffs and punts, teams will just take over where they catch it, or at a designated spot on the field.
Going into the contest, Banks County second-year head coach Josh Shoemaker knew it wasn’t about getting a win on Friday night, but something much more.
Prior to the game, Shoemaker stated, “I am looking for where we are as to in-game shape and how we compete.”
Banks also lost many key players, including long-time starting QB Griffin Goodwin and WR/S Bryce Bennett. However, they return RB Clayton Dykhouse for his senior season after a stellar junior campaign where he ran for well over 1,000 yards in a breakout season.
“As to how it goes, I know there are going to be mistakes,” said Shoemaker before the scrimmage. “I would like to limit those mistakes, but I’m more concerned with how we respond to those and how we compete. We are going to have a lot of athletes that are getting on the field for their first varsity competition, so we want to put them in that situation and see how they respond.”
Not only was much of Banks County’s team new to varsity competition, they also hadn’t had much practice with full-contact so far.
“We haven’t had that many days in pads, so it is going to be interesting, as I know [Habersham] is in the same boat,” Shoemaker had said before the kickoff.
Banks County opens its 2017 season against Jackson County on the road on August 18. Habersham Central opens on the same date at East Hall.