Blue Devils set to scrimmage at East Hall
Blue Devil fans can get their first peek at the 2019 team Friday night under the light in Gainesville as Elbert County scrimmages East Hall.
It's been seven years since the Devils met the Vikings on the gridiron.
In fact, Elbert played East Hall twice in 2011. Aided by running back Tyshon Dye, Elbert beat East Hall 48-0 on Sept. 9 in the Granite Bowl.
As it turned, the two teams met again that season. East Hall, Region 8-AA North's No. 2 seed, hosted Elbert, which was the No. 2 seed out of Region 8-AA South. On Nov. 4, Elbert topped East Hall 27-7 in a region play-in game. With the win, Elbert secured a state playoff berth while East Hall wrapped up its season that night.
Elbert went onto beat Pepperell and Cook County, advancing to a quarterfinal appearance at Buford.
The Devils went 11-2 that season with their only losses coming from North Oconee and Buford.
This season offers some similarities to 2011 with both East Hall, albeit a preseason affair, and North Oconee on the schedule.
Last season, Elbert and East Hall recorded nearly opposite records.
Elbert went 7-4 overall and 5-2 in Region 8-AA while East Hall was 3-7 and 2-4 in Region 7-AAA.
The two teams both suffered a loss to Union County. Union defeated East Hall 35-6 Aug. 24, 2018, and it edged out Elbert 29-28 over a month later (Sept. 28).
This season both squads have new head coaches at the helm, and they look to establish their own brand of success.
East Hall's new head coach, Michael Perry, has an overall young team with only eight seniors listed on his roster.
On the other hand, Brad Waggoner, Elbert's new skipper, has double the amount of seniors (16) to dress out.
Don't look for either team to fully work out its upperclassmen in Friday night's scrimmage as the agreed upon format will pair the No. 1 units for the first half only.
Special teams will not be live, and due to having only one quarterback, East Hall's quarterback won't participate in full contact.
In contrast, Elbert's starting quarterback, senior D.J. Ardister will almost certainly be involved in full-speed contact as a running threat on offense and as a tackling force in the defensive backfield.
Early in the third quarter both teams will begin to play their second strings, and the fourth quarter will see the rest of the bench, according to Coach Waggoner.
While the scrimmage may provide a necessary warmup for Elbert, Waggoner said the Devils have been preparing for the season opener against rival Hart County.
“To be honest with you, we haven’t seen them on film,” Waggoner said. “I don’t know what they’ll line up in. We’ve just been working on Hart County stuff all week. We’ll go in the game and run our general stuff. We’ll work on some things we don’t get a chance to do during practice – kind of see it in a game format. As far as practice this week, we’re preparing for Hart and just working on ourselves.”