Football

The Cedartown Bulldogs and Rockmart Yellow Jackets begin the season in their annual rival game, but before they take to the gridiron against each other both teams will be spending time on the field showing off what they've picked up during the off season.

Both teams are playing on Friday night, with Cedartown on the road and Rockmart at home in the first of two scrimmages to be held before the season officially kicks off.

The Jackets are kicking off with their first scrimmage at home this year, taking on visiting Bowdon Red Devils for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at The Rock.

It'll be the first time Rockmart has gotten back on the field since they played in Fitzgerald last season in the second round of the Class AA playoffs in November 2016, which ended in a 48-21 loss. The Jackets finished their season at 10-3 overall, with only one loss in region play.

Parsons starts his second year as the head coach of the Jackets with a squad ready to tackle whatever the season throws at them.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are heading onto the road for their first time on the field since the end of the 2016 season when they ended their run at 5-5 on the year and a loss to Chapel Hill to wrap up play under former coach Scott Hendrix.

Hendrix, who got a promotion to principal, was replaced by Head Coach Doyle Kelley for the 2017 season. It’s his first time as a head coach of a football team, though he has acted as an assistant in the past. Kelley also coaches the Cedartown Bulldogs baseball team.

He's taking the Bulldogs to East Ridge on Friday night for a 7 p.m. start on the Georgia-Tennessee line in Chattanooga.

Coming along for the ride is Tony Mathis Jr., the junior running back and middle linebacker who was named an Class AAAA pre-season all state player via Recruitgeorgia.com.

"That's a big honor," said Kelley about the news. "Anytime a player is recognized pre-season in an all state ranking in Georgia, that's something he can be proud of accomplishing. But if you ask Tony, he's looking forward to the season and showing everyone what he is capable of doing on the field."

The pair of scrimmages this Friday will be followed up on Aug. 11 with games on the road for both Cedartown and Rockmart up in Floyd County.

Cedartown will travel at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 11 to face off against Model, while the Jackets will travel to play at Darlington at 7:30 p.m.

August will wrap up with a pair of games in Polk County for the two teams.

On Aug. 18, the official start of the season, the Bulldogs will host the Jackets for the annual Battle of Polk County. Then the two teams will take on Piedmont, Ala. and Cherokee County, Ala., High Schools in the second annual Battle of the Borders, this time being held in Polk County on Aug. 25.

Check back on Aug. 16 for more full previews of the teams in the coming Pigskin Preview ahead of the start of the regular season.