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Waggoner introduces band exchange

Blue Devils (L-R) L.J. Browner, Mehki Davenport, Corbin Mattox, Tobias Jones, C.J. Tate and Caleb Hale take part in an exchange practice with the band Aug. 1 on the high school practice field. (Photo by Cary Best)

Quite a spectacle spread across the Elbert County High School practice field Aug. 1 as the band and football players traded places.

Football players took up musical instruments and attempted to march together in step.

Band members took turns trying to drive the linemen’s sled across the  field, majorettes and large -bodied linemen tossed batons to each other.

Sophomore wide receiver/defensive back Tony Willis donned Brandon Kirby’s tuba as the classmates trade notes on how to play the large brass instrument.

Despite senior drum major Soniah Jones tapping out a loud cadence, the football players appeared to march to their own beat and out of step with each other.

Laughter and smiles were the end products during an event new Blue Devil head football coach Brad Waggoner aims to make a tradition.

“You can’t have a Friday night game without football players and the band. That’s what make the atmosphere. Obviously cheerleaders do too,” Coach Waggoner said. “I have the utmost respect for the band. I see them practicing everyday. They’re practicing out in the heat like we do. A lot of time when you don’t have a particular skill like the band members have or the football players have, you don’t respect each other until you actually see what each other do. I want our guys to have an appreciation for what they do and hopefully they’ll have respect for what we do because we’re all in this together. That’s what make Friday night special.”

Waggoner’s band exchange idea comes from his days of playing football at Georgia Tech where, at the end of each game, the players and band came together on the home sideline to share in the victory or console each other over a loss.

“Whether you win or loose at the end of each game, we’ll always go to our bench where our band is, and we’ll line up and play whatever the song is, usually the alma mater, and we’ll be shoulder to shoulder to make sure we give them respect.”

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The Elberton star

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