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FOOTBALL: Darlington, Rockmart clash in preseason test

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Fans who are hoping for big seasons from the Darlington Tigers and Rockmart Yellow Jackets got a glimpse of how each team will stack up against their competition on Friday night, and one thing was made clear.

Each team has plenty of talent on both sides of the ball to provide thrilling games ahead in the near future, but both the Tigers and Jackets have a lot of work still left to do before they kickoff during their first games.

Darlington head coach Tommy Atha said he’s got two weeks to get his team ready for what promises to be a tough early season for the squad, who hosted Rockmart for a full scrimmage ahead of their first game of the season at home against Gaston High School from Alabama on Aug. 25.

“I think we need to get into a little better condition, and I think we started to make mistakes once we got tired,” said Atha. “But having this scrimmage under our belts makes us better … We were glad to be able to play a good football team in the scrimmage because we have a very tough early season coming up.”

Darlington’s offense and defense both were able to keep up with a rough and ready Rockmart team during the first half, but struggled when the Jackets came out in the second half. Rockmart gave up four turnovers against the Darlington defense during the first half, including an interception thrown by quarterback Dylan Bailey in the first quarter.

Rockmart head coach Biff Parson said that the improvement from their first scrimmage last week against Bowdon and against Darlington was “night and day.”

“We moved the ball a lot better than we did last week, and we executed a lot better,” Parson said. “There’s a lot of coaching issues we need to fix as far as teaching technique, but I felt like we did much better in the first half of this game than we did last week.”

Rockmart gets back onto the gridiron with two trips in a row to Polk County rival Cedartown — once to face the Bulldogs next Friday, and then the following week to play against Piedmont (Ala.) in the Battle of the Borders.