Some thoughts from the Granite Bowl: Elbert countians are proud of their unique stadium that was built in 1951 "at a cost of $3,000." The place definitely has a certain ambience about it and it offers seating pretty close to the field. I wonder however, if they have spent $3,000 on maintaining it. We've all seen worse, but it could use a little sprucing up. Then again, I'm not sure how you go about sprucing up concrete slabs, cinder blocks and unfinished cement. The lighting and press boxes could be better too.
It's too hot to play football. No, it's not going to be significantly cooler in two weeks, but it will be in November. With the current set-up, schools not making the playoffs will have their gear packed in November, thus being deprived the pleasure of any cold weather football. Think about it, kids usually go trick-or-treating in shorts.
I don't know if the GHSA will return the season to a late August or early September start next year or not, but I doubt it. Most school systems, including ours, will be starting even earlier next summer and I don't see the patience on anyone's behalf to go to school a month before playing a game. We may as well get used to it.
The officials seemed affected by the heat more so than either team on Friday night. The middle-aged group was out of position quite often. They were doing the best they could but again, I wonder if the GHSA even considered the conditioning of the officials in the starting date debate. I also wonder what it would hurt to kick off at 8 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m.. At least give it a chance to get dark.
The Thomson Bulldogs were much more physical than Elbert County. The offense struggled, but they kept leaning on the Blue Devils until things broke midway through the fourth quarter. Many fans were concerned about a perceived lack of blocking by the Bulldog's big line, but my observation was that timing played a bigger factor in the offense's troubles than did poor blocking. As the game wore on, the backs were able to click to the outside and make Elbert play chase. At that point, it was just a matter of time before Thomson found the end zone.
Thomson's defense looked super quick and very well prepared. The only glaringly bad play by the defense was a busted coverage on one long pass. Fortunately, the Blue Devil receiver dropped the ball. The coaches may not agree, but I also sense a little depth on the defensive side. It may be that in this weather, the coaches know they must rotate players. Elbert County had only five first downs by my count and two or three of those came via penalty. That'll win every time.
I hope any advocates of the I-formation and opponents of the Wing-T took note Friday night. Elbert's tailback lined up nine yards deep. The I is certainly a good scheme but against a defense like Thomson's you better have a Herschel Walker dotting that I. Not many high school's have the personnel to run a college or pro-type I. If there is one, the hole is closed before the back gets to it. It's easy to be a critic from the grandstands, so I thought I would join the crowd.
This week is the big rivalry game with Washington-Wilkes in The Brickyard. It's hard to read much into the Tigers' victory over Class AAAA Lakeside. The attitude toward football is much different in Wilkes and McDuffie counties than it is in the Lakeside community. I expect another tough, hard fought game in the early going with the Bulldogs prevailing again.