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BA Gators weigh in at football camp
BA 3 col BW
Senior Bulloch Academy football player Michael Kimbrell weighs in at BA’s annual preseason football camp. The intense five-day camp helps the Gators build unity and friendship and it helps with conditioning and endurance. The team bunks together throughout the week in Bulloch Academy’s gym and are fed by parents of the players. - photo by RAHN HUTCHESON/Special

    Tote bags packed tightly with everything from towels and socks to underwear and t-shirts, mattresses, pillows and coolers filled with sports drinks and snacks sat in not-so-neat piles on the floor of Bulloch Academy’s gymnasium Sunday afternoon.

    So began the Gators’ intense five-day football camp.

    “Football camp builds team unity,” said head football coach Clint Morgan. “The kids sweat together, eat together and room together. It’s that bonding…that chemistry which makes a team great.”

    After quickly putting down their belongings in the gym, 28 players hustled down to the field house to weigh in and record their maximum efforts in the vertical leap, bench press, squat, curl and power lift. After a short team meeting and checking into their ‘rooms,’ the Gators hit the field for the first of eight full-pad practices.

    Morgan and his staff of Ronnie Hodges, D.J. Clay, Kevin Prisant, newcomer Andy Tomlin and alumnus Scott Cram will be inserting football into almost every second of the day of the camp, which ends Thursday night after the annual “Gridiron Greats” Father-Son Peanut Boil.

    The Gators hit the field this morning at 6:30 with a popular hour-long conditioning session called “County Fair.” According to Hodges, there are four different “rides” where players spend two or more minutes in intense, full-speed conditioning.

    Each day, Bulloch will have two two-hour, full-contact practices along with a special teams’ workout and a 30-minute devotional period. Groups of parents will help provide breakfasts, lunches and dinners.

    “You want to come out of camp hoping to have established a starting group both offensively and defensively,” said Morgan.

    “We return so many starters that we have a good idea of our starting groups going into this week. However, we’ve had some younger kids who have really stepped up during the summer and will challenge for playing time. No spot is 100 percent secure.”

    Morgan’s younger Gators, as well as his veterans, will have chances to perform in game-type situations with three controlled scrimmages during the week.

    The Gators travel to Lyons Tuesday for a 6 p.m. full-contact action with Robert Toombs and Pinewood. On Thursday, Bulloch hosts Curtis Baptist for a 6 p.m. pre-season battle and on Friday, St. Andrews comes calling for a 7 p.m. swim in the Swamp.