With the start of the prep football season around the corner, local teams have another step before they can put on their pads and really get down to business.

Thursday began the Georgia High School Association-mandated period of conditioning for high school football players to adjust to the brutal heat they could face once practice in full pads can begin on Aug. 1.

Players have been allowed to workout on a voluntary basis during most of the summer either on the practice field or in the weight room, but Thursday was the first day programs could institute a full-scale mandatory practice session.

Most teams have not been idle since the end of the school year, with many keeping a summer schedule maintaining rigorous workout routines in order to use every last bit of time to get ready for Friday night action.

Following the week of full-pad practices, teams in the area will get a taste of the season when they compete in scrimmages beginning Aug. 8 with Darlington traveling to face Whitefield Academy.

Pepperell is once again playing two preseason scrimmages rather than playing a spring game. The Dragons will host Temple on Aug. 9 in the first exhibition before welcoming Class 5A Cass to Lindale on Aug. 16.

Model will take part in a scrimmage on Aug. 9 visiting Mt. Zion-Carroll.

Rome High will get its practice game in on Aug. 16 by hosting New Manchester at Barron Stadium, and Armuchee will be on the road that evening at Southeast Whitfield. Coosa will host Bowden also on Aug. 16. 

Unity Christian will be the first local team to get the regular season going when the Lions welcome The Oaks School to Grizzard Park on Aug. 16.

The 2019 season cranks up another notch the following week when the Corky Kell Classic returns to Barron Stadium on Aug. 22 with rematches from last year’s contest.

Calhoun will face Ridgeland at 5:30 p.m., followed by Rome High against Marietta at 8:30 p.m. In last year’s matchup, the Wolves were able to come away with a 51-41 win against the Blue Devils.

On Aug. 23, Armuchee opens its season at Murray County, Coosa is at Trion, Model hosts LaFayette, and Darlington hosts Pepperell. Unity Christian plays its second regular season game that night as well, hosting Peachtree Christian.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The 2019 Pigskin Preview football magazine will be available Aug. 18 and include features, team previews, and statistics for all Rome and Floyd County high schools and colleges, as well as region and conference previews and a look at some of the top football players in the county.