After a spring training - less and outright bizarre 2020 that had a significant impact on the outcome of the rest of the fall football season, the George Coun- ty Rebels were able to re- fresh themselves this time with an uninterrupted full month of practice and cli- maxed nicely with a 27-10 home scrimmage victory over Hancock last Friday afternoon. Second year head coach James Ray, now coming into his sixth overall at GCHS, spoke fondly about what the Rebels were able to accomplish. “It was great to have spring practice,” Ray said. “For years, I was on the fence about whether to have it, and there was a lot of talk throughout the state about doing away with it. Some other neighboring states don’t have it, and after us not having it last season? I’m not on that train anymore”. Ray also spoke about the advantages of better knowing the team identity headed into the summer strength program, as op- posed to the unfortunate late-blooming of last year. “I believe it was about week three or four last year before we really found out who our team was. We got that accomplished through spring practice this year, so, yeah, we’re excited. I thought the returners we had coming back looked really well. They looked like they’d gotten bigger and stronger, and the couple of Normalcy returns, Rebels complete 2021 training transfers that we had come in, they showed enough that they’re going to really help us”. One of the transfers, quar- terback Ashton Hollins, a former Mary G. Montgom- ery Viking and now upcom- ing senior, marked his first maroon and gold stamp early in the contest after the Rebels fell behind 7-0 following a nine yard scor- ing run by the Hawks. Hol- lins later connected with senior speedster Trent Howell on a fade route which Howell subsequent- ly took through and around defenders enroute to a 59 yard touchdown. The Reb- els would settle for a 6-7 deficit after a failed PAT kick attempt. The Hawks pushed to their final lead of the game at 10-6 a few se- ries later with a successful 32 yard field goal. Hollins would make his presence known again just before half time, this time on a five yard keeper for a score to cap off an eightplay, 80 yard drive. George County led 13-10 after a true point-after kick. In second half action, freshman Deuce Knight took over under center and extended the scoring for George County with a 14 yard touchdown run and a 48 yard toss to Brenn Moody, another freshman, for the game’s final points. Both players are leading a group that accomplished an undefeated, district championship campaign as eighth graders last year. “That eighth grade group? Man, they’re talented,” said Ray. “And right now, our plans are to keep them as a ninth grader. We want them to go through a ninth grade season. I hope we can do that. We’re an injury or two away from having to start pulling some of those guys up, so, it’s good that they went through spring practice with us. They went through all four weeks, they got to play the other night and they really played well against older kids, because Hancock didn’t have a ninth grade. They only brought their junior varsity. To end on both varsity and junior varsity with wins, not getting anybody hurt, that was a big thing. They’ve now got three weeks off and we’re going to start summer workouts.” After the grueling summer regimen, George County will open back up with 7A Davidson out of Mobile, Ala., for the fall jamboree, which should give the Reb- els a similar offensive look that they’ve been accus- tomed to in recent years. “We’ll play Davidson out of Alabama that first weekend, the jamboree weekend in the fall and they’ll come to us and we’ll play kind of like we did the other night,” Ray said. “I’m excited about them coming, because with us dropping down in classifications, we’re going to see more of a Wing-T run style offense. That was exciting to get Hancock here so we can see that, and that stuff gave us problems early on in the scrimmage until our defense got adjusted to it. “You know we’re so used to seeing all of these wide-open spreads and Da- vidson is going to be that type of team too, so I’m ex- cited that we get these two teams before we get start- ed and really get a gauge of what kind of team we are.”  All of this and to make things even better this time around, the entire coaching staff from last season will return, which Ray says is paramount. "This year there will be no changes on the coaching staff. Everyone is intact and people don't realize how huge that is. I think this may be the first time since I've been here that we've not had to replace coaches. You just hope that you don't lose your coordinators, but then your position guys are just as important. Our guys, they're great guys. They're great men who all share the same vision and our kids love them. I hope that they stay here for a long time

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