Old, new schools clash in Georgiana Thursday

Published 6:04 pm Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Youthful energy and wizened experience will clash on the gridiron Thursday as Georgiana hosts its first Old School vs. New School.

The event will pit the current Georgiana varsity football team roster against various Georgiana alumni, who are dead-set on teaching the youngster Panthers a thing or two about football in a non-contact game of 7-on-7 football.

For the uninitiated, 7-on-7 football is a variant of the sport played with no linemen, blocking or kicking of any kind.

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Offenses will take turns trying to cover 40 yards, with only a single first-down offered at the 20-yard line. 

Quarterbacks have 4 seconds to pass the ball before the play is blown dead.  No running plays are allowed.

Scoring works much like a usual game, with one wrinkle; defenses can score 3 points by intercepting the ball.

Georgiana’s varsity football team is well-versed in 7-on-7 competitions, and the Panthers finished its summer program undefeated this year. 

But Georgiana head football coach Ezell Powell said that the stakes Thursday night are drastically different from the past three months.

“It’s about us going out and having fun and inviting the community back into what we do, especially with the alumni and getting them involved in the program,” Powell said. “A lot of what we do now is because of the work they’ve done in the past, so we thought it would be a great opportunity for them to come back around and compete.”

Powell said that the idea for the event had been gestating for a while now, though a few setbacks last year prevented the idea from taking off.

“Last year, when we put it together, we weren’t real sure on the older team,” Powell said. “We thought of it at the last minute, and something else came about at the last minute that caused a conflict in the date, so we decided that we wouldn’t try to force it; we’d take our time and do it again next year.

“And this time we got together early and set the date, and everyone involved knew the date and time.  So we’ve been working at it, and it came together this time.”

The concession stand will be open, though the selection will be a bit limited in comparison to offerings in a regular-season football game.

Despite that, Powell said that participants could expect a more fun-filled, interactive experience than one typically provided under Harmon Field’s Friday night lights.

Part of that, Powell says, is because the Old School Panthers have opted to keep their roster—and even their coaching staff—a mystery.

“They really don’t want me to know who it is,” Powell said. “They’re trying to keep it a secret for themselves.  I think it’s a part of their strategy. With us not knowing who’s on the other team, we don’t know how to scheme up for them.

“I’m pretty sure that the guys will compete hard and execute the best they know how, and also keep the game as fun as they possibly can.  Either way, it’s all in fun and community.”