High School Football
Indians take field tonight for home scrimmage
by Doug Gorman
East Coweta football fans couldn’t ask for a better sneak preview to get the Steve Pardue Era under way.
The Indians’ first-year head coach takes his team into its first intrasquad clash since arriving at the school tonight in a scrimmage game at Garland Shoemake Stadium against defending Class AAAA state champion Griffin in a 7 p.m. kickoff.
It’s also a new era for Griffin High School.
Despite winning last year’s state crown with a 15-0 record, Griffin is also breaking in a new staff. Long-time head coach Steve Devoursney resigned amid a school investigation regarding recruiting, with Jarrett Laws taking over the program after spending five years at Drew and two at Mt. Zion-Jonesboro.
Former Griffin defensive coordinator Rusty Easom, meanwhile, was hired by East Coweta in the offseason. Pardue’s offensive coordinator, David Pleasants, is the program’s other new staff member after working together at LaGrange.
Pardue, who spent 19 years at LaGrange and won three state titles, returns to the high school game after serving as the running back’s coach at the University of Kentucky under Joker Phillips.
The Indians will open the season with a new starting quarterback for the first time since 2012. A group that includes sophomore Will LaGuardia and juniors Will Morris and Christian Reeve get a chance to audition for the opening tonight.
Pardue knows there’s plenty of football tradition at East Coweta. The Indians are looking to extend a streak of 17 consecutive state play-off appearances.
“There are no quick fixes,” he said. “There’s plenty of tradition and we are glad to be here. We have a lot of talented kids and everybody is working hard.”
Defensively, the Indians will have to replace 2013 Newnan Times-Herald Most Valuable Player Markell Boston who signed with Auburn after making 96 tackles and picking off four passes, including one for a touchdown.
Free safety Kevin Lashley is set to lead the secondary after a solid season last year, including 46 tackles and two interceptions, among a large group of returners on defense.
The Indians open the season on Aug. 29 at home against Arabia Mountain.
Newnan takes the field for the first time on Friday at home for a scrimmage against LaGrange. Northgate travels to Veterans in Macon on Aug. 22.
The Heritage School again heads to south Georgia for the Bob Peck Kickoff Classic on Friday for its scrimmage. The Hawks will face Briarwood Christian, led by first-year head coach Bo Fleming.
It’ll be a bit of a reunion for Fleming and Heritage head coach Kevin Prisant.
“We were fraternity brothers,” he said.
Central Christian (formerly Heritage Christian) opens its 8-man season with a game against Freedom Academy at East Coweta Middle School.
(Sports editor Chris Goltermann contributed to this story)