Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

July 8, 2014

Wildcats prepare for passing league


 Football season is approaching but don’t think for a second that the Valdosta Wildcats are waiting for a chance to compete. 
Summer workouts, 7 on 7 tournaments and passing leagues are a few of the things keeping the Wildcats busy in preparation for the 2014 season. 
The Wildcats host a passing league today against Berrien and Ware counties to continue their competitive summer. Open to the public, the teams will take part in skills drills and a non-contact scrimmage beginning at 6 p.m. at the newly renovated Cleveland Field at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium. 
Some questions still remain on both sides of the ball for the Wildcats.
Similar to years past, the Wildcats do not know who will be their starting quarterback when they open the season at McEachern High in Atlanta for the Corky Kell Classic against the Brookwood Broncos.
The summer competition heats up between last year’s starter Seth Shuman and Cole Massingill, the quarterback slated to start in the 2013 season but was unable to due to an ACL injury that occurred prior to the season’s start. 
“Both quarterbacks are great athletes. We’re going to just keep watching everything until the season begins and take it one game at a time,” said Valdosta High School head football coach Rance Gillespie. 
With the loss of running back duo Nelson Herring Jr. and Malcom Joseph, Gillespie said he has four running backs on the roster whom he expects to see multiple carries this season. 
The Wildcats’ challenge in the passing league will be discovering which wide receiver will be effective. Former quarterback Craig Barry and receiver Ricco Ramsey will be the top two passing options for both quarterbacks as they participate in the challenge. Other players to watch in the challenge will be Kaleb Whitfield and Khalil McClain, who is back at his tight end position after taking reps at quarterback in spring practices. 
Defensively, the Wildcats took a big loss at defensive tackle, losing Darrius Sapp to a college scholarship with the Georgia Southern Eagles. However, Gillespie isn’t too worried about the loss. Confident in the other areas of his defense, Gillespie is excited to see what they can do the rest of the summer in 7 on 7 tournaments and during passing leagues. 
“This will probably be the best secondary I’ve had the chance to work with since I’ve been coaching,” said Gillespie. 
Seniors Joshua Norwood and Tra Barrett are two players in the secondary that will be important to the success of the defense, both on and off the field as players and as leaders. 


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