For the majority of high school football players, once practice is over, it’s over.
They get to either hang out with friends for a while or go straight home and get some much-needed after-school nutrition.
For the players at first-year program Skipstone Academy, after practice means more work to do.
Skipstone, located at the old Flint River Baptist Church site on Birdie Road, started its inaugural season with a full 2-hour practice in pads Monday and after the team members ate and cooled off, they headed to the site of their football field and laid sod, as they have been doing for awhile now.
The players, coaches, parents and volunteers are laying sod on the field site, which they hope will be ready for the Warriors’ home opener Sept. 25 against Heritage Christian. So far, 20,000 square feet of sod has been installed and they want to install another 40,000 to finish the job this week.
Skipstone Academy head coach Bob Cupp had one word to describe Monday’s first day of practice in pads with his 15 players.
“It was slow,” Cupp said. “But that was to be expected. We’ve got to get the guys used to the hitting and tackling aspect of the game now.”
Cupp said the guys were “chomping at the bit” to practice in pads and actually hit each other. He was happy to see their enthusiasm, but he realizes there’s a lot of work to be done.
“Right now, we’ve got to keep pushing the fundamentals on our guys and get them ready to play,” Cupp said. “Some of the guys have experience, but for the most part, we’re learning from scratch.”
The players are also learning how to construct a field from scratch. They water the sod, knock out the lumps on the sod and are basically hands-on in the effort to get Warrior Field done before Sept. 25.
“We have a good bunch of kids here,” Cupp said. “They take pride in building their ‘house’.”
The Warriors will be playing in the Independent Christian Schools of Georgia and Alabama (ICSGA) 8-man football league and although the team is playing an 8-game schedule, it will be eligible for the playoffs. Skipstone will also face local region foe Faith Christian Academy on Oct. 2 at home. All games will take place at 7 p.m.
Junior lineman Chris Siebert said he’s looking forward to playing 8-man football. Siebert transferred from Strong Rock in Locust Grove, where he played 11-man football. He's ready for the faster pace of 8-man action.
“This will be different. You really have to be aware of what’s around you,” he said. “You have to make sure to make plays because there’s less people on the field and you don’t want to let a guy get behind you.”