Generals still searching for elusive first win

Mary Ann Miller | Special to the TimesGeorgia Christian School quarterback Seth Copeland is set to miss six to eight weeks due to an injury to his throwing arm. 

DASHER—Georgia Christian (0-2) will travel to Columbus on Friday to take on Calvary Christian (0-3). Both teams are seeking to get their first win this fall.

The Knights of Calvary Christian have done a complete overhaul of their offense from last year, the triple option, and now feature a spread attack in 2020.

The types of offenses could not be more different, and it will be interesting to see how the Generals’ defense will do against a similar offense to the one that they see every day in practice.

“You know, Calvary has a ton of athletes,” Knapp said. “You almost have to have athletic guys when you run the offense that both of our teams share (spread). They completely changed what they did last year and switched over to the spread.”

It will be interesting to see how the Generals adjust to what they will see instead of what they were expecting to see.

“When you go against the spread, you have to play smart football,” Knapp said. “Our biggest key is to contain their athletes. Their tailback, he is a great one. He can do a lot of things. We have to stop the run firstly and then we have to be able to play them smart in space.”

From what the Generals have seen on film, they feel that they have a shot to contain Calvary and handle things Friday night.

“We saw them on film, and we feel good about the game,” Knapp said. “We feel like if we just go out and execute and play our game, we can put ourselves in position to do big things.”

Once again, the Generals will be ‘playing up’ against a bigger team. All three games this year, the Generals have played against teams and schools that are bigger than they are. GCS is in region 1-A and Calvary is in 3-A.

“Once again, we are playing up in a sense,” Knapp said. “This team is bigger than we are, but we want to play up. We welcome the competition; the opportunity to get better. We want to build something here; a great program. In order to do that, we have to play competition bigger than we are.”

Though the end result was the same against Skipstone as it was against Valwood, the Generals stepped up. On defense, they forced a couple of redzone turnovers and only allowed 25 points, half of what they gave up in the first game.

“We played physical in the Skipstone game,” Knapp said. “I was impressed with that. We got some guys back and that helped us out a bit. But I was mostly impressed with how we answered the call of playing a team that outmanned us by thirty pounds or more for each player.”

On top of searching for their first win, the Generals may have suffered a bigger loss, Seth Copeland is likely done for the year with an injury to his throwing arm. The injury requires that he be out six to eight weeks. While his backup, Thomas Dowdy, seems up to the task, it’s never easy losing your signal caller.

“You hate to see a guy like Seth go down,” Knapp said. “He is like a coach on the field, in every sense of the phrase. The whole time he has been out, he has been coaching guys up; making sure Dowdy is ready for the task.”

“Seth will be in the (press) box for games. It will give him a chance to see the game from a different vantage point. We’ll have him chart plays and understand things from a different perspective. He’s a natural coach. After his playing days, he very well could get right into coaching.”

Dowdy looked good in the reps with the first team so far this week. The offense still looks in sync with one another, a positive in an otherwise negative situation.

“Dowdy is a guy that transferred in for us and created a great quarterback competition,” Knapp said. “He pushed Seth. Seth pushed him. So, he is game ready. He is a fiery guy; a big-time competitor. He is a little faster than Seth and he’s taller. We believe in him.”

The offense has seemed to do some different things than they have in the previous two games. Some pieces to the puzzle were also moved around. 

“We took a couple guys we had at tight end and move them back to their tackle spots,” Knapp said. “We also put the other guys at their more natural spots on the offensive line. We simplified the playbook and made things easier. We have to get things going on offense. We took it back to the basics. We have to score and score often.”

Going 0-2 is never easy for any team. Losing in itself is not easy, but the Generals seem to still be handling things well for the most part. Practice still seems enthused and upbeat.

“We have to continue to play with confidence,” Knapp said. “It doesn’t feel good to lose, but we are trying to build something great here. These guys understand that this is an opportunity to take GCS to greater heights than anyone has imagined.”

The defense has shined at times this year, but other times, they seem to be missing plays in the backfield. 

“We just have to control the line of scrimmage,” Knapp said. “It’s that simple on defense. Control the LOS. If we push back that offensive line of the opposition, we have a better chance to win the game. We have to push them back at least a yard on every play. We have to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks to disrupt their rhythm.”

“We lost Seth, but we also got another guy back, John Michael Castleberry. He went down last year with a forearm fracture at the end of 2019. We just got him back cleared for the game. He’s a speedster; probably the fastest guy on the team and believe me, he knows how to put it to use.”

The Generals look to end the slump that they have been in so far in 2020 and turn things around before they get into region play in a few weeks. 

Kickoff for Friday’s game is set for 7:30pm in Columbus. 


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