Quick-start Bears open SE Select, 4-1

No detail, however small or large, escapes first-year Griffin Bears offensive coordinator Ryan Nelson, shown here during a practice last month eyeing the snap to quarterback Khalfani Harps (2).

The Griffin High football team opened the Southeastern Select football camp by going 4-1 in pool play on Saturday morning at Colquitt County in Moultrie.

The Bears defeated Thomas County Central, Jonesboro, Cairo and Monroe-Albany while also losing to Colquitt County.

“I was pleased with the way we played in pool play, because we had to play five games back-to-back,” said Easom, “because it took a little bit longer than we thought it was going to take to get down there.”

“So we literally got off the bus, stretched and played,” added Easom, “and then played five games in a row — that’s tough to do.”

The early-morning success garnered the Bears a gift.

“We got a bye into the tournament bracket,” Easom said.

However, that’s where Griffin’s day came to an end with a loss to Jonesboro in the quarterfinals.

“Which is a team we had beaten earlier in pool play,” noted Easom.

Still, Easom was pleased overall.

“We went against some good competition,” he said. “The thing I was most pleased with ... a lot of our games were close games all the way right up until the end and we had to find a way to win and we did that for the most part early in the morning.”

He said Griffin even had its chances against the host school.

“We had about four shots that we hit the guy in the hands or their guy had to go up and make a play,” said Easom, “so we had an opportunity to beat Colquitt — you’re talking about one of the better Class AAAAAAA programs in the state, so overall it was a good experience.”

There was one area Easom wants to see the Bears improve upon between now and a preseason scrimmage on Aug. 13 against Woodland-Stockbridge at Memorial Stadium in Griffin.

“I think one of the things that we have to do better — because this has kind of happened to us the last two times (including at a passing league camp last month at Georgia Tech in Atlanta) — is we do really good in pool play and then we get to the tournament after lunch or after we’ve had a chance to get off our feet and we can’t get back up,” said Easom.

Toward that end, his message to the Bears was a simple one.

“The message I gave to the kids was you have to treat this thing like it was a game,” he explained, “in a sense that pool play is the first half and the tournament is the second half.”

“We’ve got to try to learn from this now,” he added, “and don’t carry that over to the season that you can’t go out there and play a good first half and then go out there and lay an egg in the second half and expect to dominate and win football games.”

The tournament was also a reunion of sorts for Easom, who was reunited for the first time on the field and only the second time in general since the 2013 state championship team with then-Bears head coach Steve DeVoursney, who is the head coach these days at Cairo, and then-Bears offensive coordinator Justin Rogers, who is the head coach these days at Colquitt County.

Easom was the Bears defensive coordinator on the 2013 state championship team.

The trio was united during a 50th birthday party a few years earlier for a mutual friend.

“It has been at least five years,” said Easom.