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GHSA calls off all scheduled football scrimmages

The Georgia High School Association made the decision Thursday to cancel all scrimmage games scheduled for the month of August. They did not cancel the season however, and said the first games of the year are still officially a go for September 4th.

Locally the Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets were hit the hardest as they had two scrimmages scheduled. The Jackets were set to host Claxton on the 21st, and were heading to Thomson on August 28th.

“It’s been tough to navigate through this situation,” said SEB coach Barrett Davis. ”We had the season pushed back two weeks, and now both scrimmages are canceled for us. All we can do is try to watch out for the safety of our kids, coaches, and their families. That’s our main concern. Our kids have remained positive throughout everything and are doing the best they can. Hopefully we can get some positive news and get ready to play on Sept. 4th.”

“One life lesson we are teaching our kids through this pandemic is you never know what life is going to throw at you,” Davis said. “All you can do is navigate the situation with a positive attitude, and keep pressing forward.”

For the Portal Panthers they will miss out on a scrimmage game they had scheduled with Wilkinson County on August 28th. The Panthers actually have the first week of September off, and open on Sept. 11th against Montgomery County.

“I can’t say I’m surprised with the decision,” said coach Matt Smith. “We were really counting on that scrimmage since we have so many young players. It’s going to be a long stretch between now and September 11th, and Montgomery County will have a game under their belt by the time we play them.”

The Panthers have been able to go full pads this week, but have opted to start next week instead for a number of reasons.

“We have really taken things slow,” Smith said. “We have a lot of newcomers, so we wanted to pace ourselves leading up to the scrimmage. With that gone we now have a lot of time between now and the first game. We don’t want to burn them out, especially now with so much time to go until our opener.”

For the Statesboro Blue Devils their scrimmage game with Metter slated for the 28th is now cancelled. Head coach Jeff Kaiser was disappointed with the news, but is even more concerned with the lack of communication with the GHSA.

“As a coach my thoughts now turn to, what’s the end game here?” Kaiser said. “Are we going to keep getting strung along, or is there going to be a definitive decision? Many of the coaches in the state are wanting a definitive answer.”

Kaiser says he feels like the GHSA is waiting to see if cases spike when schools come back, but remains frustrated with the lack of communication.

“At some point we need to make a decision for our kid’s sake,” Kaiser said. “It’s going to be tough to look these seniors in the eye and tell them the season has been cancelled after practicing all this time. We know the safety of our kids is the most important thing, and Covid is a serious thing, but if we are going to play, make a decision.”

“We talk to our kids about overcoming adversity, and they are sure getting used to that unfortunately,” Kaiser said. “Kids are facing it, coaches are facing it and schools are facing it. I’m just of the belief that there comes a time that you just have come out and make a decision.”

There has been no decision from the GISA regarding scheduling which would affect the Bulloch Academy Gator’s season. The Gators did however have a scrimmage game scheduled for Sept. 28th with Stratford Academy - who is a member of the GHSA - so that game has been cancelled.

“We haven’t heard anything about scrimmages between two GISA schools being canceled,” said Bulloch Academy coach Steve Pennington. “I know many times the GISA follows the decisions made by the GHSA, but as of Friday there has been no word.”