The Adairsville Tigers will kick off this year’s round of scrimmages when they host Dalton at Tiger Valley on Thursday night. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
It is the second consecutive year the Tigers opened the football season in Thursday a scrimmage and the matchup also will offer the first glance at Adairsville under coach Eric Bishop, who assumed the program’s reins last spring.
The preview continues Friday night when Woodland hosts Cartersville and Cass visits Gordon Central.
Adairsville and Dalton both are coming off two very successful seasons.
Last year, Adairsville earned a 7-4 overall record and made the state playoffs with a 5-2 record in Region 5-AAA.
Dalton compiled an 8-4 record overall and went 4-1 in Region 7B-AAAA.
Bishop said Thursday’s early start is one of several moves the program has taken to draw attention to itself.
“We did the same thing with regards to opening night last year,” Bishop said. “This lets us be the first scrimmage in town, like our Midnight Madness last week where we started our practices under the midnight lights.”
He said he likes the excitement those events bring to the players and the program.
“Our Midnight Madness is something we want to make a tradition of although we probably will be making some changes in how we do it,” he said.
Bishop said the Tigers have already held numerous practices with pads and he believes it is helping the team sharpen its skills.
“We are trying to get as prepared as we can for the season,” he said.
The coach said Thursday night’s scrimmage will help further the team’s efforts to improve.
“The film we get out of our scrimmage against Dalton probably will lead to the next level of improvement that we make,” the coach said. “After we get the scrimmage downloaded, our coaches will go to work.
“It should answer a lot of questions for us about who will play, and it should guide us in what we do as we prepare for our season-opening game against Cass.”
Bishop noted the scrimmage game will have several unique features, such as the limiting of special teams play throughout the evening.
“There will be no kickoffs,” he emphasized.
The coach said the team’s more experienced players can expect to see action in the first half of the scrimmage but the third and fourth quarters are reserved for younger players.
Bishop emphasized the Tigers will start their scrimmage a little earlier than on regular football nights.
“We have a 7 p.m. start — not 7:30 p.m. — because we have school the next day,” he said. “Everyone gets home a little earlier.”
Adairsville opens its season Aug. 30 when it visits Cass High and the two teams renew a cross-county rivalry.
Meanwhile on Friday, Cass visits Gordon Central for their scrimmage, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m.
The Colonels finished the 2012 season with a 5-5 overall record and a 0-4 record in Region 7-AAAA. They return a lot of experienced players and are looking to make some noise around playoff time this year.
The Gordon Central Warriors finished second in Region 5-AAA. They compiled an 8-3 record overall and earned a 5-2 record in its region.
Cartersville and Woodland meet at Wildcat Stadium in the county’s other Friday night scrimmage.
The Canes were the county’s most successful football team from the standpoint of winning the past year, earning a 13-1 overall record that took them deep into the state high school playoffs.
Cartersville was 7-0 in Region 5-AAA.
The Purple Hurricanes open their season on Aug. 30 when they visit the Darlington Tigers in Rome. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
Woodland earned 2-8 record overall a year ago and is hoping to show marked improvement this year.
Cartersville’s playoff success from a year ago could energize the Wildcats as they show fans how they stack up against one of the state’s best teams of a year ago.