The Rockmart Yellow Jacket football team is preparing for year five under head coach Biff Parson. And despite the unusual circumstances of the 2020 preseason, Parson says that it has not been much different from previous years.
“To be honest, this year has pretty much been the same as the other years I’ve been at Rockmart,” Parson said. “I wouldn’t say that it’s been a difficult change. The restrictions in place (set by the Georgia High School Association) change the amount of guys we have at practice any given time, but other than that it’s pretty similar to your average preseason.”
Until a few weeks ago, high school practices in the state of Georgia only allowed for conditioning. It was not until the GHSA loosened their restrictions that football teams were able to practice with balls and other equipment, but no pads.
“We were glad that they let us start using balls because that has helped some,” Parson said. “We are just now able to run some actual football drills. Obviously we aren’t able to go out and play other teams, so we are in practice playing against ourselves.”
Rockmart is coming off of an 11-1 season in which the Jackets won their third straight Region 7-AA title. They have gone 43-8 under Parson, including a Class AA state runner-up finish in 2018.
Parson credits the upperclassmen on the team with “knowing what it’s like to be a Yellow Jacket,” meaning the seniors on the team understand the system Parson and his staff have put in place.
“Our guys have been through it together before so they know what to expect,” Parson said. “They’re coming out here, working with each other, getting better and getting ready for the season. When we were able to start practicing together (in early June), many of our guys were already in pretty good shape and we’ve taken it from there.”
The Rockmart football head coach admitted that he is hoping for a fall sports season due to the quality of the Jackets’ team and their strength of schedule.
“I am very thankful to have the opportunity to coach this group of seniors. They are a great group of guys and I think they can be a very dangerous team,” said Parson.
“We are playing some big teams this year: We play Rome week one in the Corky Kell Classic, and the next week we host Cedartown,” said Parson. “Of course we are moving up to Classification 3A this year, but our guys are looking forward to the challenge. They keep telling me how badly they want to give it all they’ve got this year.”
Assuming nothing changes with the GHSA’s plan for fall sports, the Yellow Jackets will be granted that opportunity come August. After playing Rome on Aug. 21 at Barron Stadium and Cedartown on Aug. 28 at home, Rockmart will open Region 6-3A play on Sept. 11 at Coahulla Creek.
Rockmart is scheduled to play in two preseason scrimmages. The first is set for Aug. 7 at Bremen, while the second will at home on Aug. 14 against Villa Rica.