There also were some long distance running and passing during an evening scrimmage that drew all the Purple Hurricanes on the field.
Two passing touchdowns were scored from 60 and 70-plus yards and a host of long runs entertained the parents and Purple Hurricane fans crowding the stadium. There were just as many highlights on the defensive side of the line, too, as several interceptions and fumbles were recorded.
A lot of those plays were made by youngsters, some as young as eighth graders hoping to make their mark for the Canes, long a football power in northwest Georgia.
That probably is fitting since the fall edition of Cartersville’s Purple Hurricanes is going to be young in a key area.
“We are going to be young in our skilled positions,” head coach Frank Barden said.
Barden and his staff have a lot of experienced players returning on the offensive and defensive lines and they concentrated on the skill positions during the 10 days of spring practice.
The coach said progress was made.
“We got better from day 1 to day 10,” he said. “What we’ve got to do now is go to the next season — which is our summer workouts — and we’ve got to go kill it.
“We have to have a great summer.”
That’s why Barden and his counterparts at Adairsville, Cass and Woodland high schools all say the key to their success is always the next step, whether it’s weight-lifting over the winter or the whole package of work that’s required during the summer.
“We have to take it one step at a time and the next step is summer workouts,” Barden said.
He said the foundation is laid and coaches have something to build on. “Our defense runs well. We just have to keep getting a lot of reps.”
Barden said the offense, as always, will rely on its line.
“Our line has to be our strength. We have to make sure we are solid in our line and find guys who are going to step up.”
He said the Canes lost good players to graduation. Last fall’s edition of the Canes fielded one of the best offensive lines in the region, one that allowed several Cartersville runners to literally run wild.
That team scored an average 26 points per game, contrasted with 15 points that it gave up.
“We lost some good seniors, some guys who were three-year starters,” he said. “The guys who are taking their spots are going to have to step up and fill up their shoes.”
Barden doesn’t worry so much about the player losses as making sure the players are working on the things that will help them improve.
“We are by no means where we want to be,” he said. “We need to take it one step at a time and don’t get ahead of ourselves. The bottom line is we want to see who’s going to put their hat on and come and work every day.”
The coach doesn’t just focus on skills when he’s working with youngsters to help them improve.
At the conclusion of the scrimmage games, he urged players to concentrate on their own character, stressing its importance on the field and in life itself.
He said the Canes have youngsters who are going to be good players and good people.
“We’ve got good kids, kids who want to be good players,” he said. “Now we have to find that gear that makes us perform well.”