Many in the community got a sneak peek at what the 2012 Upson-Lee Knights football team could look like come August 31, when UL travels to Zebulon to take on Pike County to open their 2012 season.
The Knights wrapped up two weeks of practices with their annual Spring Game at Matthews Field on Friday night. The teams were separated by white jerseys and black jerseys, with each team having a fair balance of players. The teams did not keep an official score, but none the less, the game had plenty of exciting gridiron action.
“I thought we had a pretty good spring,” said Knights’ head coach Tommy Watson. “We have a couple of key players who are a little dinged up and some did not play tonight, but that is to be expected. The most important thing is the fact we had zero serious injuries. Other than that, I thought we looked good at times in certain situations, but we still need a lot of work to get better. Our season’s success will come down to how hard we work and how much we better ourselves over the summer.”
During the game, the Black Knights scored first, with a 61-yard touchdown run by Sontrell Perry. The White Knights returned the favor with a score of their own, after linebacker Nick Kennedy picked off a pass for a score. The Black Knights retook the lead with a pick six of their own, as Travis Pittman returned an interception for a score.
One bright spot for the Knights was the play of quarterback Justin Shaw. The back-up last season to All-Region athlete Corey Moss, Shaw threw a 17-yard TD pass to tight end Nick Kennedy. So far this spring, Moss has played quarterback, wide out, and safety on defense. It is uncertain which player will be under center when the season starts, but it’s certain both players will be key in the Knights’ offensive and defensive game plans.
The coaching staff got some nice long looks at some of their younger players. Current eighth graders and upcoming ninth graders also put on a good show for the fans. The “Young Bucs” as the coaching staff calls them, scored on offense, after Jalen Bland ran in for a score from two yards out. Quarterback Jordan Ramey also impressed, with a nice long pass and some tough runs around the end.
The Knights will now look to June 4, when their off season routine begins. The team will begin their strength and conditioning exercises, while putting an emphasis on quickness and agility. Also this summer, the team will take part in some passing games with schools from around the area.
Starting on July 25, the team will be able to begin practicing in helmets but without pads. Once Aug. 1 arrives, the Knights will be able to go full contact will full pads. From that point they will have just a little over two weeks to prepare for their scrimmage game at Lamar County, and less than four weeks before they open their season in Zebulon, as they take on the Pike County Pirates for the first time in Upson-Lee history.