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Local football teams hold spring practice
by Greg Oshust
June 04, 2014 02:27 PM | 3565 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
North Fulton’s high school football teams took another step forward in their preparations for the 2014 season as they conducted their spring football practices last month.

Alpharetta had about 110 players participate in its spring practice session – the first under new coach Jacob Nichols -- May 5 through 16.

The Raiders, who were 9-3 overall and advanced to the second round of the Class AAAAAA state playoffs after winning the Region 6AAAAAA championship with a perfect 7-0 league mark, worked primarily on installing their offensive and defensive schemes as they looked ahead to summer workouts.

Nichols, who served as an assistant coach at Alpharetta the previous five years – including the last three as offensive coordinator – replaced Jason Dukes, who left to become the new coach at Smiths Station in Alabama.

“Most importantly, we stayed healthy for the most part,” Nichols said. “We got a chance to see whose work in the offseason prepared them to compete for the 2014 season. There was also an emphasis on conditioning and transitioning our younger players into our system. Our defense was stellar throughout the spring and we made some big strides in the run game on the offensive side of the ball.”

Milton had a total of 88 players participate in its spring practice, which was held May 2 through 16.

The Eagles, who were 8-3 and qualified for the AAAAAA state playoffs a year ago, stuck to the basics as they worked on blocking and tackling and other fundamentals of the game.

“We finished up about where we thought we should be,” Milton coach Howie DiCristofaro said. “We know our left from our right.”

Roswell had about 90 players take part in its spring practice session the first two weeks in May.

Fundamentals were the main focus for second-year coach John Ford, whose Hornets went 4-6 in his first season at the helm.

For Ford, spring practice was a step forward for his team.

“Spring went well,” Ford said. “Some answers emerged at some places where some young guys stepped up. We still have a lot of work to do to get where we want to go.”

Centennial had 70 players take part in its spring session the first two weeks of May as it looks to improve on its 1-9 record of a year ago. Installation of their offensive and defensive scheme was the main focus for the Knights during their workouts.

“We had one injury and that was disappointing,” Centennial coach Jeff Carlberg said. “But other than that, spring went really well.”

Cambridge had 135 players participate in its spring practice May 6 through 16.

The Bears focused on shoring up their fundamentals as they set their sights on moving a step forward this fall after a 3-7 record in 2013.

“We have 18 returning starters, so our spring was more about getting reps than installing new systems,” Cambridge coach Craig Bennett said. “We did not have any major injuries, so we feel like we had a very successful spring.”

Mount Pisgah Christian entered its spring practice with plenty of momentum after a breakthrough 2013 season in which it went 12-1 and advanced to the Class A private school state semifinals.

That momentum was reflected in the number of players who participated, with 50 – the most the Patriots have ever had for spring practice -- turning out for the session that lasted May 5 through 16.

“We worked on fundamentals and put in our base defensive and offensive packages,” Mount Pisgah coach Mike Forester said. “Overall, I felt real good about our progress and I am looking forward to having a great summer as we prepare for the season.”

Fellowship Christian had about 50 players participate in its spring practice session, which took place May 5 through 16. It was the second spring practice period for Fellowship under Al Morrell, who led the Paladins to a 5-5 record in his first season at the helm.

“Spring football went well,” Morrell said. “We worked on fundamentals and installing offensive and defensive schemes.”

St. Francis held spring practice April 28 through May 9 as it looks forward to its fifth year on the gridiron. The Knights, who posted an 8-2 record as they played a non-region schedule, now feature 42 players on their roster – an increase from 33 during the 2013 season. St. Francis coach Brennan Booth said she was encouraged by the progress his team made during spring practice.

“We accomplished a lot this spring and put in our basic offense and defense,” Booth said. “We were able to teach the new players their responsibilities for their position on both offense and defense. I think everyone participating learned a lot on how things work and we are very happy with what we accomplished during spring football practice.”

Blessed Trinity, which was 9-4 and a AAA quarterfinalist in 2013, didn’t hold spring practice.

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