I must admit I was a little surprised when I saw the 2009 football schedule for Grovetown High School -- pleasantly surprised, I might add.
The Warriors will not just be wading into the pool that is Georgia High School Association football; instead they will be jumping off the high dive into the deep end.
Athletic Director Todd Booker and head football coach Rodney Holder have pieced together a schedule that will be as tough or tougher than any team in the area.
A lot of first year schools schedule all Class A schools, private schools and even junior varsity schools to ease into existence. Holder and company are doing nothing of the sort. They have a scrimmage vs. Monticello on Aug. 14, and then they open their regular season on the road at Buford.
In case you were wondering about how good their opening opponent is, Buford High School arguably has been the best program in Georgia during the past 10 years. Since 1999, all Buford has done is win 135 games and lose only eight. That is not a misprint, by the way: 135-8 in 10 years. That includes five perfect 15-0 seasons (including 2008 and 2007).
Yes, Grovetown's Warriors will be trying to snap the Wolves' 30-game winning streak Aug. 21. If 10 years of info is a little much, let me simplify it a bit. In the past eight years Buford is 112-4. Basically they are very, very good.
As if Buford was not enough, Grovetown also travels to play perennial power Northside Warner-Robins. If Buford isn't the best team in Georgia during the past 10 years, it is only because Northside-Warner Robins happens to play in the Peach State. The Northside squad is an astonishing 133-12 during the past 11 seasons, including a 40-2 mark with two state crowns in the past three seasons.
Grovetown's tough match-ups don't stop at the state line. Holder and the Warriors will play host to South Carolina powerhouse Fairfield Central on Aug. 28. The Fairfield crew is loaded year in and year out, and they have a huge following.
Not all of the Grovetown games are against teams who could likely hold their own at the small college level. They will square off with a number of other first-year programs such as Locust Grove, Walnut Grove and Langston Hughes high schools.
The tough schedule, mixed with some new schools, was not necessarily by design. "We had to basically take games with new schools and with teams looking for games," said Booker
While the tough foes might not have been priority No. 1, Booker loves the idea. "It is going to be great for our young kids to play against great teams like Buford and to see the amazing facilities Buford and Northside have," he said.
No one would have complained if Grovetown had watered down the schedule with lesser opponents, but I love their schedule. And ultimately the program will be better for it.
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