The Marlboro County High football team will wrap up their spring practice sessions this week. That will include the annual Black and Gold spring game on Thursday.
"We had wanted to have the game during the last period of the school day, so the student body would all be on hand to watch. However, it is just too hot for that," said head coach Bobby Collins.
The game will start at 7 p.m. instead. Collins intends to divide the team into two roughly-even units and play two 25 or 30 minute halves.
One thing that will be on display is Collins' offensive strategy and how it differs from that of former coach Dean Boyd.
"Last year, the team was in the shotgun with one running back about 95% of the time. I prefer to have the quarterback under center most of the time, with a tight end and usually two running backs," said Collins.
That philosophy should mesh well with the personnel that the Bulldogs have returning.
Boyd's offense relied heavily on the quarterback making quick decisions and creating plays. With Elijah Blair at the controls last fall, the Bulldogs were a threat to score anytime he got loose.
However, Blair will graduate next Saturday and the three underclassmen battling to succeed him have very little varsity experience and none with the game on the line.
What the Bulldogs do have is a pair of talented running backs in rising juniors D.J. Hicks and Jacardo Riggins. Both showed flashes of brilliance last season, combining for nearly 1000 yards.
Also returning are four offensive linemen with starting experience, led by rising seniors Toquery James, Tim McNeil and Gary Bethea.
"We have a really big offensive line. We have to get them playing a little lower and firing off the football harder," said Collins.
"We will be more of a pro-style offense. When we throw the football, we want to make sure that the quarterback has time. When we run it, we want to give it to one of those guys with confidence that he will have a place to run," said Collins, emphasizing the importance of the offensive line play.
The community is encouraged to come to McAlpine Stadium Thursday evening to check out the "new-look" Bulldogs for themselves. Admission will be $2.