The 2019 prep football season will kick off Aug. 23, but preparations have already started for local programs with summer workouts. Many of the programs started June 3.
Holy Innocents’ looks to build on a six-win campaign last season that saw it reach the second round of the state playoffs for the first time since 2013.
Our primary focus is to improve strength in the weight room,” Golden Bears head coach Todd Winter said. “On the field, our focus is on agility, speed, flexibility and fundamentals.”
Holy Innocents’ opens the season at home against Mount Pisgah Christian.
The summer workouts also allow the players to adjust to the outdoor conditions so they’re ready when training camp and conditioning start July 25.
“We hope to improve our size, strength and team between now and when practice officially starts at the end of July,” Wesleyan head coach Franklin Pridgen said. “We also spend a good bit of time outside during these training days, which allows players to safely acclimate to the summer heat.”
The Wolves won seven contests and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs in 2018. Wesleyan opens its 2019 campaign at home against Meadowcreek.
Riverwood had a breakthrough campaign under first-year head coach Robert Edwards in 2018. The Raiders won eight games, which was the most in a single campaign since 2001, and qualified for the state playoffs. This summer will provide an opportunity for the team to incorporate new players to the roster.
“We are looking to continue the momentum created last year,” Edwards said. “We lost a lot of seniors, so we are looking to develop the next group of athletes to compete at a high level.”
Riverwood hosts Chattahoochee to open its 2019 season. Its rival, North Springs, will visit Fellowship Christian to kick off its 2019 campaign.
“We are very young this season with more than 30 sophomores,” Spartans head coach Scotty Parker said. “We only return two on offense in guards Mike Miller and Arian Raeisghasem. Defense is our strength going into the summer. We are using this time to get our young players ready to compete at the varsity level in all aspects: physical, emotional and mental. Even though they are young, this group has the roots to become a great team. They are very coachable, eager, work hard, play together and put in the extra time. The chemistry is there.”
Mount Vernon Presbyterian won a program-record eight games last season and reached the second round of the state playoffs.
“We graduated a big senior class in 2019, so this summer will be all about developing our players, getting each of them bigger and stronger in the weight room,” Mustangs head coach Wayne Dabbs said. “Getting our players in the best shape possible. Finding out who our leaders will be for the upcoming season. Start forming the identity of this team, and continuing to build on the strong foundation and standard set by previous classes that have come through and graduated from Mount Vernon.”
The team opens this season at home against Prince Avenue Christian.
The summer workout sessions also extend beyond the field with classroom sessions also entering the training regimen.
“Lifting and conditioning are a regular part of summer workouts with intrasquad teams competing against each other all summer,” Westminster assistant coach Joe Sturniolo said. “Twice a week we have classroom installs, followed by walk-throughs on the field. These installs allow us to enter fall practice with a full knowledge of our playbook, terminology and expectations, which allows us to use fall practice time for skill improvement rather than learning the system.”
The Wildcats, which won eight contests and reached the quarterfinals of the state playoffs in 2018, visit Woodward to start this upcoming season.
The summer workouts also allow for reflection of the previous regular-season campaign and a reaffirmation of goals for the upcoming year.
Marist has experienced long postseason runs the previous two seasons, making the semifinals in 2017 and the finals in 2018.
“Our team has a goal to win a state championship this year,” War Eagles head coach Alan Chadwick said. “Plain and simple. We have been close the past two years and we need to close the deal this year.”
Marist visits Lovett to open its season Aug. 30.
Other season openers for local programs include North Atlanta at Grady, St. Pius X at Blessed Trinity, Lovett hosting Greater Atlanta Christian and Pace visiting New Manchester.