Tornados prepare for opener

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 22, 2001

Greenville Academy Head Coach Charles Oswald, after long review sessions and extensive practice is working diligently to prepare the Tornados for their first game of the season.

"We have a tremendous challenge ahead of us this Thursday night," Oswald said. "Our season-opening game is at home, against South Montgomery County Academy."

SMCA went to the Alabama Independent School Association (AISA) State Championships last year, finishing as runners-up.

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"We have had the opportunity to view two tapes from SMCA, their Championship game and also another playoff game," Oswald said. "They graduated three key players from that team - their quarterback, one running back, and also their kicker."

Without having had the opportunity to participate in the Spring Training sessions with the Tornados, Oswald feels optimistic about their condition.

"I think we are on par with what I expected," Oswald said. "We have progressed to about 80-percent of our capabilities so far, and continue to improve with every practice."

Oswald said he is starting a new quarterback this year, replacing senior Emory Winters, who has been moved to a fullback position.

"We are starting Adam Moore, a senior, as our quarterback this season," Oswald said. "Although he hasn't played since his freshman year, he looks really good in practice."

Oswald said he is going to rotate throughout his roster, giving most of the team an opportunity to get some time on the field this Thursday night.

"We are going to take this opportunity to play a lot of players, so we can get an idea of how they will perform in a game," Oswald said. "We are planning to rotate in 11 players on the offensive line, and (we) will probably rotate in 20 players on defense."

Although a non-region game, the SMCA game should prove well for the Tornados, and the matchup can be likened to Troy State's upcoming game against the Nebraska Corn Huskers.

During a recent interview, Trojans Head Coach Larry Blakeney spoke about his team's philosophy, which Oswald said is his also.

"If we didn't play any teams we knew were going to beat us, we would not have any challenge to improve," Blakeney said.

"We are playing one of the toughest teams in the state," Oswald said. "That is a given - but one we will be able to learn and grow from."

The Tornados invite all football fans to come out to Academy Drive this Thursday night, when they will host the SMCA Raiders, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m.