It has been a long and hot summer, in which the Upson-Lee Knights football team has endured over two months of drills, conditioning programs, and a weekend camp consisting of five practices.
However, starting at 8 p.m. tonight, the Knights players think it will all be worth it.
“The guys are just ready to see another uniform on the field, and hit someone else besides each other,” stated Head Coach Tommy Watson.
The Knights have worked this week on fine tuning their offense with back up quaterback Jairus Hollman. The sophomore has shown some potential throughout the week.
“He has a chance to really be something special,” says Watson.” The quaterback position is up for grabs as the season is nearing. Junior Derek Baughcum and Hollman have both had promising workouts throughout the summer.
Baughcum has been battling the injury bug and is a game-time decision tonight against the Cougars of Crisp County.
According to Watson, emergency quarterback and defensive back Antonio Copeland may see some snaps under center tonight as well. Copeland will also see reps at wide receiver.
The main goal for Coach Watson and his staff is to evaluate the team on film and see how different players react to different game-time situations.
Other positions that are ripe for the taking are the left guard position and the kicking position. Returning kicker Luke Paul enters his sophomore season in a battle with senior newcomer Kirby Banks . Senior running back Dare Coker will serve as the team punter.
Coach Watson looks for every player to get playing time in tonight’s game. “We want to run the football and execute our base offense,” says Watson.
Defensively, the Knights can expect to face the Cougars’ Wing-T offense, which the Knights have seen in the past with arch rival Griffin.
According to Watson, he expects the Cougars to have an eight man front on defense, trying to absorb the Knights running attack.
The Cougars are coached by former Troup County Head Coach Tommy Walburn. “I’m not sure what kind of team they have down there, but I know they will be coached well,” explained Watson.
Coach Watson said he doesn’t put much stock into winning this game. “We definitely want to go out there and execute our offense and look sharp on defense, but the final score of this game is of little importance to me.
“We just hope the community will come out and support us tonight. These kids have worked their tails off ,and a nice crowd tonight will be a great reward for them,” said Watson.
Kickoff will be at 8 p.m. tonight at Matthews Field, proceeded by the first ever “Knight Walk” at 6:30 p.m. Fans can line the sides of Triune Mill Rd. to enjoy the festivities.
Upson-Lee Knights vs. Crisp County Cougars
When: Tonight 8 p.m.
Where: Matthews Field
Previous Meeting: Crisp Co.: 21 Upson-Lee: 14 (2000 playoffs)
Last Season: Upson-Lee 6-4 (3-3) Crisp County 2-8 (0-5)
Head Coaches: Tommy Watson (Upson-Lee) Tommy Walburn (Crisp Co.)