Rockmart got a 30-13 scrimmage win over Bremen at last week’s home game, which marked an opportunity for the community to enjoy the first Friday Night Lights of the season.
Both teams began the practice game looking to evaluate their players’ skills after a summer full of training, before facing their respective rivals in their first official games of the season.
Head Coach Biff Parson feels the Jackets still need some work, though, and is looking forward to their second scrimmage game this Friday night, ahead of the August 23 kickoff of their season.
“I was proud of our kids’ effort,” Parson said. “We’ve only been in full pads for about four days and we were mainly trying to evaluate our hitting, tackling, and all tonight.”
“I’m proud of our young guys getting the opportunities and experience,” he added. “It goes back to what we say everyday, that they have to continue to prepare themselves and be ready for the opportunity to play.”
The Jackets started off with a 62-yard touchdown pass from junior Javin Whatley to senior Juke Boozer during the first quarter.
They then gained approximately 70 yards with a pass to senior CJ Culver, who set up the second score of the game. A short 5-yard run by freshman Patrick Gardner finished Culver’s efforts and earned a touchdown for the home team.
Rockmart later made two more touchdowns, made up of a 50-yard run by sophomore Keyshaun McCullough and a 35-yard pass from senior Paine Culver to junior Jamyrian Darden.
The Blue Devils scored a total of two touchdowns of their own with their offense being led by senior quarterback Cooper Cartwright and sophomore wide receiver Blake Matthews.
Both teams will be back on the practice fields to improve upon mistakes and gear up for the coming weeks.
“It’s good to have these scrimmage games because we are able to get these kinks fixed before we show up to our first game,” Parson said.
He noted that the Jackets need to focus on being more physical at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
“We also had issues with transitioning, which is what I talked to them about at halftime,” Parson added. “We had too many guys coming out late on special teams; they need to be in the flow of the game.”
He stated that he was very impressed with the sideline and specifically noticed the encouragement and teamwork.
“I also thought our seniors did a really good job of setting the tone from the pregame until the end of the game, which is important,” he said. “Attitude affects leadership.”
Parson noted that Whatley certainly did well with his first performance as lead quarterback.
“Javin is a dynamic player for us,” he said. “He can do a lot of different things and gives us the chance to both run and throw on offense.”
Looking ahead for later this week, both the Blue Devils and the Jackets will be at their home stadiums for a second scrimmage game, with Bremen facing the Carrollton Trojans on Thursday and Rockmart facing the Temple Tigers on Friday.
Parson stated that he plans to use the next scrimmage game as an opportunity to keep the Varsity starters on the field longer and see how they last through three quarters.
“The real challenge will be handling the heat Monday through Thursday at practice, knowing we have a game on Friday,” he added.
The Jackets will then travel to Cedartown the following week on August 23 for a cross-county rival game to officially open their season. The Blue Devils are looking forward to their trip to Statesboro to play Rabun County in the 8th Annual Erk Russell Classic on August 24 before opening their season with a game against their main rivals, the Bowdon Red Devils, on August 30.