Harry Bacheller thought the madness might end last week.
Augusta Prep's football coach spent the first week of practice driving back and forth from Atlanta, where he and his family are still trying to sell their home.
His days started before dawn and ended about midnight.
Bacheller expected the hectic schedule to conclude after a family at the school offered him a place to stay at the end of his first week. But the former St. Pius X coach still has plenty to do to have his first-year middle school team ready for its opener at Curtis Baptist on Sept. 3.
Bacheller wasn't even sure of his team's first opponent after the Cavaliers' first day practicing in full pads. He said he was only worried about teaching his players the fundamentals.
"We might have some goals, but the main goal is to go out there and try to get better every day," Bacheller said. "We got to start somewhere."
"Football 101" is what Bacheller has titled his practices since the program started with meetings in the spring. Players at those practices wore shorts and T-shirts. They had no equipment.
Augusta Prep held a football camp during the summer, which Bacheller said attracted about 45 participants. He said half of the participants were not from Augusta Prep.
"I wasn't expecting that the first year," Bacheller said. "And hopefully, the next year, we'll grow even more."
Bacheller counted 28 players for his first week of practice, the majority of whom he said were sixth-graders. He said he doesn't want the few eighth-graders on the team to miss out next year after leaving the middle school program, but is not sure how Augusta Prep might proceed with growing the football program.
He said Augusta Prep could field a ninth-grade team and play other ninth-grade teams or junior varsity squads.
"We've got to take care of those current eighth-graders that are going to be ninth-graders," he said. "I don't want them sitting out a year."
Bacheller's practice schedule included offensive fundamentals the first week, defensive fundamentals the next week and maybe, as the opener at Curtis Baptist approaches, working to install plays.
But as Bacheller said after the final practice of the first week, the young Cavaliers are a long way from game preparation.
"I told the kids not to worry about anyone but themselves right now," he said. "If we do that, everything should take care of itself."
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