Tifton Gazette


July 7, 2014

Eighth Street teams getting stronger

TIFTON — School is probably not the place of choice for teenage boys on a Monday morning in July.

But there they were, hanging out on the front steps of the gymnasium at Eighth Street Middle. Plenty more were in the hallway behind the gym and they all seemed happy.

They all had a single reason for wanting to be on school grounds during the midst of summer: football.

Eighth Street has a team for each of its two grades. Erick Willis is in charge of the eighth grade squad.

He said that 110 kids came out Monday morning to practice. The sessions started in June and after a break were to run again from July 7-25.

They will be given some off time, the week school starts, but will be quickly back at it as their opener is an Aug. 16 scrimmage against St. Marys Middle at home. Five days later, Camden Middle visits. Both seventh and eighth will play against St. Marys with only the eighth taking on Camden.

Willis said that the seventh graders are slated to play six games, in addition to the scrimmage. There are seven regular season contests for the eighth. Conference games start up at the first of September. J.L. Newbern, Lowndes Middle, Coffee Middle, Pine Grove Middle, Hahira Middle and Cook Middle. Cook joined the region last year.

The players at practice are a variety of sizes, as puberty has yet to hit in some cases. Surprisingly, while their bodies have yet to finish — or in some instances, start — maturing, Willis said most came in with a well-developed football IQ. Thanks to the sixth grade program at J.T. Reddick, most were already very familiar with the game.

As opposed to teaching skills, "we're refining skills," he said. Only about 10 of the athletes had never played football before.

Practices last about 2.5 hours and players are developed beyond the grass of the field.

Eighth Street has a giant weight room and the strength program is the same as used as at Tift County High. As players are still raw in this department, Willis said they are working on developing form first. Already they are showing signs of getting stronger, he said.

There is a motto at the school among the coaches, Willis said.

"Let us coach your kids."

He said parents have been supportive, both of methods and in the stands. There has definitely been a payoff; the eighth graders have been undefeated for two straight years. Willis is confident they will be a tremendous asset to the high school team. "It's a good group of now-ninth graders," he said.

Text Only
Local News

Local Sports
20140726 John Reid.JPG

Tift County head football coach John Reid.

Police Reports
Your Agenda
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
House Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Seasonal Content
Business Marquee
Weather Radar
Sen. Chambliss addresses farm bill in Tifton
Riding the Steam Train at Ga. Museum of Agriculture
Nature's Beauty in a Tifton parking lot
Peanut Prices Remain Strong