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Sophomore running back D.J. Bell finds green grass against the defensive unit during the first week of padded practice at PCHS.

 

Count Pierce County head coach Ryan Herring among the many across the state who don’t agree with the decision to cancel pre-season scrimmages.

The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) canceled scrimmages Thursday, August 6, but left alone the regular-season schedule which remains set to begin the first Friday in September.

“Scrimmages are important in helping you get ready for the season opener,” said Herring, who guided the Bears to an unbeaten regular season, 13-1 overall, and the Region 2-AAA title last season. “Losing the scrimmages was a downer for my guys and the coaching staff.”

Just like every program in the state, PCHS has followed the guidelines of GHSA executive director Robin Hines.

“We started in small groups of 20 and then went to 50,” said Herring referencing back to the June 8 restart and the changes in July. “We almost had perfect attendance during that time. What has been impressive is the work the players did in the weight room. We have continually adapted as a program and really had a great summer.”

Herring added that no player has opted out of the season for COVID reasons.

The Bears went in full gear last week, but things will change with an extra two weeks before Week 1. 

PCHS could be facing an open date September 4. Liberty County has postponed its season leaving the Bears with a nine-game schedule.

“We are working on possibly filling that spot,” said Herring. “Most of the teams contacted who lost their opening game have indicated they would play us at their place. We weighing things out and hopefully we can reach a deal. The main thing is to get a game.”

As for practicing, Herring says he will opt for three days of practice in full gear and two days in shells.

“We’ve (coaches) got to be smart and protect the health of our players,” he said. “We don’t want to beat the bodies down, plus we’ve got to battle the heat. We’re going to take care of the players and work hard when we can.”

PCHS returns seven players on offense and defense this season.

“We didn’t lose a lot,” said Herring, “but those were real good players. That was a great senior class with a lot of high-character kids.”